Magistrates in Haiti take industrial action

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – Magistrates have begun a weeklong strike over demands for the payment of arrears in salaries, improved working conditions and a stop to any form of interference by the Executive in the judiciary.

President of the National Association of Haitian Magistrates (ANAMAH), Jean Wilner Morin, said the action by the magistrates is being supported by the Professional Association Magistrates (APM) and the Association of Judges of Peace (AJUP).

The ANAMAH said it hopes that the industrial action would force the government to meet the demands of its members that include the payment of salary arrears for magistrates; the improvement of working conditions, the transfer of powers from the Ministry of Justice to the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ) in accordance with the agreement of October 2017.

It said it also wants the CSPJ to be in charge of the investment fund under the management of the Ministry of Justice and used to build and repair courts.

The magistrates are also calling for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the appointment of judges until their retirement and the amendment of the law of November 2007 so that prosecutors and magistrates have tenure of office.

APM president, Wando St Villiers has criticised the working conditions in which judges operate for years, noting that several negotiations have taken place with the Ministry of Justice and the promises made have not been kept.

He said at least 18 jurisdictions have been affected by the strike that started on Monday and the magistrates have said they will review their options on Friday.
Meanwhile, the various associations and unions representing clerical workers at the courts have announced plans for a two-day work stoppage beginning on Thursday.

The authorities have not commented on the strike by the magistrates or the impending action by the clerical workers.

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