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Haitian Official Visits Williamsburg, Shares Thoughts on “Next Steps”

February 16, 2010

Former Haitian Minister of Justice and current Special Assistant to the Haitian President, Rene Magloire, visited William and Mary’s Law School today to describe what he, as high-ranking Haitian official sees as necessary for the re-establishment of law and order in Haiti.

Rene Magloire (right) with Danny Yates at William and Mary's Law School

Speaking first to the horrific loss of life and nation-wide misery which has resulted from the January 12 quake, M. Magloire went on to explain his government’s priorities in strengthening the judiciary. Haitian law is based on the French, Civil Law system, as opposed to our U.S. Common Law tradition. This poses some unique challenges for the devastated nation, particularly in the wake of the desastrous ‘seisme,’ or earthquake. In his former position, M. Magloire was the equivalent of Haiti’s attorney general and chief supreme court justice. Now a new official holds that post, and Magloire works directly as a special assistant to President Rene Preval.

M. Magloire who spoke through an interpreter, explained that he had just returned a few days ago from Haiti where he was living outside and going to work in a tent ever since January 12. M. Magloire defended the Haitian government against what has been widely viewed as “inactivity,” in the days following this tragic natural disaster.

He placed perspective some of the media criticism with one telling anecdotes. “For example, the President of the Republic himself had his house destroyed and the national palace was reduced to rubble. On January 13, he had to hire a moto-taxi to ride through Port au Prince.” In all, M. Magloire’s remarks reiterate the fundamental dilemna of “where should the recover effort even begin?” That question will likely take months and years and could likely never be truly answered.

To watch a video of M. Magloire’s remarks, visit the Fox 10 news link here:

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