Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Law & Order

We wanted to call your attention to a fine piece of reportage in our old hometown paper by Burro Hall's Latin American legal affairs correspondent (intern, class of '07), about the wobbling baby-steps the Haitian justice system is taking as it puts a squadron on police officers on trial for gunning down a bunch of prisoners more or less for the hell of it.

By American legal standards, the trial in this provincial seaside city is more than a little bizarre: small bottles of Roi des Coqs rum are sold inside the doorway; defense lawyers shout insults at the judge, claiming the trial is fixed; observers cheer as if they were at a soccer game, while some witnesses testify in semidarkness because the building has no lights.

Rum for sale in the courtroom - right the fuck on, Haiti!  We have a sneaking suspicion this was simply a gesture to make our reporter feel more at home.  After all, Haiti knows how to roll out the welcome mat.

Later that same day, while the accused were climbing into a police van, one of them threatened a Times reporter. “The people of Les Cayes will deal with you,” the officer said in Creole.
Okay, maybe not.  Anyway, our point is that no matter how shaky the proceedings may be - and make no mistake, the only thing shakier has been the earthquake of 2010 - the effort is a sincere one, unlike, oh, say Mexico, where even with an unprecedented video camera rolling, the judges and prosecution don't even bother to pretend the fix isn't in.  In other words, Mexico could learn a thing or two about human rights from Haiti.  Ponder that for a moment.

Speaking of human rights, members of Querétaro's Social Democrat Party are calling (loudly) for the resignation of the head of the State Human Right's Commission, Adolfo Ortega Osorio.  Now, we have no particular brief for Sr. Ortega (in fact, we suggested a year and a half ago that he may not be a perfect fit for the job), but, memo to the Social Dems: among the worst possible ways to call for the resignation of a human rights commissioner is showing up in front of his office and erecting a coffin with "RIP Adolfo Ortega" written on top of it. Jesus Christ, guys, hasn't anyone here studied public relations before?

Human rights protesters unclear on the concept.


Wolfgang von Lorax said...

It lefs me spichliss

iBikwitus Chavez said...