When the January 12, 2010 earthquake hit Haiti, the country was in the midst of a second round of security and justice system reforms supported by the international community. The quake killed hundreds of thousands of people, including some who played a critical role in implementing these reforms. Damaged infrastructure and casualties in key justice and security positions hindered the existing security institutions’ ability to respond to the problems caused by the destruction. This paper examines how the security and justice reforms were affected by the earthquake, and the new security challenges faced by the population in the post-earthquake period. The disaster provides an opportunity to consider security justice matters through a new lens. Security and justice reform is the responsibility of everyone — the public, businesses, the police, judges and civil society organizations. Cooperation between all of these groups is needed to establish the accountability mechanisms required to effectively steer Haiti’s transformation process.
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Authored by prominent practitioners in the field, policy makers, academics and informed observers, the SSR Issue Papers series combines analysis of current problems and challenges, and examines thematic and geographic topics relating to the most pressing SSR issues.