Salaries and privileges of Judges in Haiti: A web of deep corruption

August 17, 2018
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Differences in salaries, privileges and benefits between justices of the peace, judges of first instance, judges of the court of appeal, judges of the Court of Cassation and members of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ ) are simply hallucinating. Under cover of anonymity, an influential judge in the judicial system decided to unpack everything,(almost) finally, to the Nouvelliste.

Legally, there should be 12 members at the Court of Cassation, 10 judges, the president and the vice-president of the court. However, currently there are only six in office. No way to find the salary, benefits and privileges of judges at the Court of Cassation. Our contact in the justice system could simply tell us that the judges in this court are entitled to a fee for a second residence, a company car and several other expenses.

However, for the advisers to the Supreme Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ), our source was able to find information on their functioning. Unlike the Court of Cassation, all nine members of the CSPJ are in post. The president of the CSPJ is also the president of the Court of Cassation. "He has a salary at the Court of Cassation, an allowance, a fee for a second residence; I do not know these amounts. At the CSPJ, he also has monthly fees for a second residence of 172,500 gourdes, entertainment expenses of 150,000 gourdes, a postpaid phone and a recharge card of 2,500 gourdes, a debit card of 50,000 gourdes every month, 40,000 gourdes of fuel costs a month and two company cars, "our source at the judiciary told us, denouncing a duplication in the privileges of the president of the CSPJ.

The vice-president of the CSPJ, who is also a member of the Court of Cassation, is not left behind. As the president of the CSPJ, she keeps all the costs and privileges to the Court of Cassation, according to our contact. At the CSPJ, she is entitled to 135,000 gourdes gourds as entertainment expenses every month, a post-paid phone and a recharge card of 2,500 gourdes, a debit card of 48,500 gourdes each month, monthly fees for a second residence of 172 500 gourdes, 40 000 gourdes of fuel costs the month and two vehicles of function.

The other 7 counselors at the CSPJ are not members of the Court of Cassation. They are entitled to a monthly allowance of 125,000 gourdes, monthly second residence fees of 172,500 gourdes, 40,000 gourdes of fuel costs per month, a company car, a post-paid telephone and a recharge card of 2 500 gourdes every month, a debit card of 45,000 gourdes per month.

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Of these 7 advisers to the CSPJ, the representatives of the Court of Appeal, the courts of first instance and justices of the peace all retain the salary, privileges and benefits due to their first position and also those of the CSPJ, according to our contact.

A member of the CSPJ who confided to the Nouvelliste on condition of anonymity, indicates that they have no salary in the judiciary, but nevertheless confirms that advisers receive monthly  allowance of 125 000 gourdes, a second residence fee of 172,500 gourdes, a 2,500 gourdes telephone recharge card and a debit card of approximately 45,000 gourdes per month.

This CSPJ member told the paper that in 2015, CSPJ members who rank higher than ministers had made a resolution to give themselves half of the benefits and privileges that ministers receive to the government. "There is no exaggeration at the CSPJ," he argued, smilingly pointing out that by addressing the record of privileges and benefits of senior state clerks, the paper is raising "a big folder. "

The numerous calls and messages of the Nouvelliste to the president of the CSPJ, Jules Cantave remained unanswered. The newspaper also contacted Jean Robert Constant, technical secretary, the equivalent of the CSPJ's general director. Before leaving on Friday, August 3, he had promised the newspaper to ask the advisers for permission to give the Nouvelliste information on salaries, privileges and benefits of members of the judiciary. Jean Robert Constant did not get a favorable answer from the advisers of the judiciary.

The situation of the other judges in the system

In the Haitian judicial system there are several levels of judges. First, in peace tribunals, there are permanent justices of the peace and deputy justices of the peace. It is in this category that we find the highest concentration of judges. 179 holders and about 300 alternates. They are the worst of the system. Without privileges or benefits, these judges are expected to live with a net monthly salary of 40.180 gourdes for the holders and 36.148 gourdes for the alternates.

"They are entitled to a monthly allowance which is one-third of their salary, ie 16,362 gourdes for the permanent justices of the peace and 14,544 gourdes for the substitutes. They have nothing else as advantages and privileges, whereas after the investigating judges they are the ones who work the most in the system ", revealed to the Nouvelliste our contact in the judicial system.

Then there are the courts of first instance. There are 18 of them, managed by 18 deans. At this level, there are the judges at the hearing who do not investigate and the investigating judges who lead and investigate the cases. They are about 210 judges in this category, among them 80 judges of instruction.

Deans receive a net monthly salary of 55,540 gourdes. They are entitled to a monthly allowance of one-third of their salary: 23,643 gourdes, 10,000 fuel each month, a service vehicle and a post-paid telephone.

The judges at the hearing and the investigating judges at the court of first instance have the same monthly net salary, 47 784.10 gourdes of salary, an allowance of 19 990 gourdes, a post-paid telephone.

"The examining magistrates are entitled to a service vehicle, but the majority of them use the net monthly jointly or their private vehicle because the CSPJ has not yet put a vehicle at their disposal. However, they receive monthly fees of 7,000 gourdes for fuel and 3,500 gourdes for other judges of first instance, "said our contact.

Then there are the 52 or so judges in the court of appeal who are headed by a president. There are 5 courts of appeal in the system, so 5 presidents too. The president of the court has a net monthly salary of 62 919 gourdes, a monthly allowance of 27 270 gourdes, a company car, 15 000 gourds of fuel every month and a postpaid telephone.

The judges at the court of appeal have a net salary of 59,505 gourdes, an allowance of 25,452 gourdes. If all the judges at this level do not have a company car, however, they receive all the fuel costs of 10,000 gourdes a month and a postpaid phone, according to the details of our contact judge.


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