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#3077: The College of Law in Jeremie

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

		The College of Law

One of the highest priorities for the Haitian people is
the reform of the judicial system.  A fair and vibrant
judicial system is essential for Haiti’s transition
from dictatorship to democracy.  In the past, powerful
elements of Haitian society have intentionally repressed,
corrupted and undermined the system - closing
down law schools, threatening and murdering lawyers
and judges, and engaging in extortion and bribery. The
people of Haiti have the daunting task before them of
rebuilding and reforming their judicial system, and of
creating a new culture of justice and ethics.  Education
is one of the key elements of this process - especially
the education of a generation of young new lawyers who
can help create a culture of justice.

It was with this in mind that the Bishop of Jérémie,
Monsignor Willy Romélus, successfully devoted his efforts
to the establishment of a law school in his diocese of
Jérémie, located in southwest Haiti.  The College of Law
in Jérémie (CLJ) opened its doors in 1995, under the
direction of Father Jomanas Eustache, who is both a
lawyer and a priest.  The school graduated its first class
of students in 1999.  It is an inspiring example of a
concrete, effective measure to help rebuild the judicial
system.  The CLJ is committed to educating students
not only to be competent professionals, but to be
individuals of integrity and high ethical standards, and
to act as "agents of peace, equality and justice in a
troubled society."

The College of Law in Jérémie provides educational
opportunities to those who might not otherwise be able
to pursue a career in law.  A majority of the students
who study there make sacrifices to attend - working
during the day, and studying in the evenings - so that
they can support their families and pay the modest
tuition required.  Many of the faculty and staff who
make the school’s existence possible volunteer the
time they spend teaching and counseling the students.

In June 1999, a small legal delegation from the
University of California, Hastings College of the Law
(UC - Hastings)  and the S.F. Lawyers Committee
for Civil Rights (LCCR)  visited Jérémie at the
invitation of Monsignor Romélus and Father Eustache
to explore the possibility of developing a sister-relationship
between the CLJ and the Bay Area legal community.
The Bay Area delegation spent several days at the school
meeting with law school faculty and students, and came
away tremendously impressed with the quality of the
faculty and curriculum, as well as the commitment of the
students to their legal education.  At the end of the visit,
the Bay Area delegation made a decision to pursue
a sister- relationship with the College of Law in Jérémie.
The sister-relationship will enrich the Bay Area, as well
as the Jérémie legal community.  In addition, it will
provide a vehicle for providing much-needed resources
to the College of Law in Jérémie to help strengthen
its efforts towards reforming the judicial system in Haiti.

For more information  please contact:
Professor Karen Musalo
University of California
Hastings College of the Law
San Francisco,
CA 94102-4978
Tel	: (510) 486-1406
or  	  (415) 565-4720
Fax	: (510) 486-1409
or 	  (415) 565-4865
E-Mail	: musalo@pacbell.net or
	: musalok@uchastings.edu