Careers in International Criminal Justice

We have always known about Haiti – the little country off our own great nation that tends to get ravaged by hurricanes and other natural disasters.  However, the earthquake that struck the country earlier this year was a wake-up call to the international community that people live in this impoverished country, in intolerable conditions, despite the relative closeness to the United States.  It was almost like we had never noticed the island, despite the many underreported news stories on the impoverished Haitian lifestyle.  Since this point however, we have all been involved with efforts to save the nation and the Haitians in particular.  However, as we began digging in the rubble, we dug into a new realization of the massive injustices that have been committed in this nation, despite their proximity to Western nations.

Criminal justice gurus have taken note of the injustices that have occurred before and after the massive earthquake that shook the nation.  There have since been reports on child slavery, a virtually useless law enforcement agency, and the prominence of child rapes.  The question has therefore been asked, what are we in the international community going to do about it?  Haiti does have their own criminal justice system, but with only twelve prosecutions per year in the ongoing child rapes, it is obvious that their system is little more than just a show for the community.  In the two months following the quake, statistics indicated that there were 230 known cases of violence against women or sexual misconduct, despite the massive amounts of aid that was coming into the country.  These crimes do not go unnoticed by aid workers, but justice is never fully realized for the children and other victims of this type of abuse.

The international criminal justice system is complex to wrap your head around only because there are so many different nations, customs, and laws that we have to deal with.  Careers in international criminal justice are forced to witness the daily atrocities that occur in impoverished areas like Haiti, or even Western nations like the United States.  No nation is free of instances of abuse against children, women, or the elderly.  However, nations like Haiti do not have the means to uphold justice in such a way that the perpetrators will no longer harm young children.  This is where the international community steps in – in an attempt to correct past wrongs. 

Haiti is an amalgamation of different cultures and customs: the first independent nation in Latin America and black-led republic in the world after its successful slave rebellion in 1804.  The roots of the nation run deep in the slave trade, although young slaves still exist within the community.  The many news reports that have focused on the unfortunate lack of criminal justice in Haiti have awakened a new international interest in the nation – one which will hopefully help bring justice to the nation that is struggling to stand on its own feet.  It will take many new careers in international criminal justice to reach out and improve impoverished nations like Haiti, but with the help of the global community, we will see a better-standing Haiti within our lifetimes.