Justice and rule of law failure in Haiti: A view from the Shanties

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1 Scopus citations


Since 1995, significant investments have been made in justice reform initiatives in Haiti. The results, however, have been meager. Drawing upon data from a longitudinal study conducted in Cité Soleil between 2008 and 2011, this article illuminates the short-sightedness of top-down reforms that fail to meet the demands of the population, leaving them to fend for themselves. In the absence of a viable justice system Cité Soleil residents have resorted to alternative, and at times pathological, measures to exact some level of “justice”. In this article, we contend that an empirically grounded base of knowledge of the demand side of justice and the promotion of trust-building strategies that engage the active participation of citizens in the country are necessary to enact and sustain justice and rule of law reform. Such an approach will create a venue to channel civil society's demands, build political will and facilitate coordination between stakeholders and Haitian society for self-sustained rule of law institutions and long-term peace building in Haiti.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-282
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • complex fragilities
  • informal justice systems
  • justice reform
  • peace building
  • rule of law
  • security
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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