Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
1. Framework for Implementing the “Vetting” Process
Sources state that a “vetting” (or certification) process was launched in 2006 in compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions 1542 and 1608 and in line with the reform plan for the PNH (UN Jan. 2013; Le Nouvelliste24 Feb. 2014). UN Security Council Resolution 1542 (2004) states that MINUSTAH’s mandate includes having a secure and stable environment to assist
[UN English version]
the Transitional Government in monitoring, restructuring and reforming the Haitian National Police, consistent with democratic policing standards, including through the vetting and certification of its personnel, advising on its reorganization and training, including gender training, as well as monitoring/mentoring of the Haitian National Police …
(UN 30 Apr. 2004, para. 7 (I.b))
UN Security Council Resolution 1608 (2005) establishes the following:
[UN English version]
ReaffirmsMINUSTAH’s authority to vet and certify new and existing [PNH] personnel for service, and urges the Transitional Government of Haiti to ensure that [PNH] personnel do not serve unless certified and to ensure that technical advice and recommendations provided by MINUSTAH are fully implemented by Haitian authorities at all levels without delay …
(UN 22 June 2005, para. 8, italics in original)
2. “Vetting” Process
According to a report published in 2014 by MINUSTAH and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), [translation] “the vetting process involves assessing a person’s integrity to determine their suitability for employment with the institution concerned, including their adherence to the applicable human rights and ethical standards” (UN June 2014, 20). A MINUSTAH monthly newsletter published in 2013 reports the following about the process launched with PNH members:
Launched in 2006 but interrupted during the earthquake of 12 January 2010, the certification or “vetting” process for the [PNH] consists in examining the files of all of its recruits—active police officers, aspiring students or candidates for the recruitment competition—to ensure that they meet the institution’s ethical and professional criteria.
Composed of 16 PNH officers with the support of UN police, a mobile investigation team examines each case across the country to determine whether each police officer has had behavioural problems, [or] past encounters with the police or judiciary.
Based on the recommendations of the investigation team, a review board provides its conclusions to the Director General of the PNH and then to the Minister of Justice and Public Safety, who makes the final decision on the disputed cases. (UN Jan. 2013)
A February 2014 article, published by Le Nouvelliste, states the following:
[Le NouvellisteEnglish version]
[A]n agreement was signed between the Haitian government and the UN for the establishment of a unit to assess the morality and integrity of all officers and administrative personnel of the [PNH]. …
… These investigations, according to the General Director [of the PNH], include judicial and disciplinary history, the financial position of the police officer to determine if their financial resources and assets are in line with their income. (Le Nouvelliste24 Feb. 2014)
Similarly, during a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a lecturer at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal, who worked as a member of the RCMP with MINUSTAH, explained that from 2006 to 2008, he participated in the “vetting” or [translation] “character investigations” of PNH police officers as part of the plan to reform the PNH (Lecturer 6 Dec. 2018). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Lecturer explained that these investigations were based on meetings within the police community, on the perceptions of their community, and on the number of police officer assets (Lecturer 11 Dec. 2018). According to the same source, the investigation also aimed to confirm that the person was not a criminal (Lecturer 6 Dec. 2018). However, with regard to the [translation] “archives” of criminal investigations into acts committed by police officers, the Lecturer pointed out that the buildings where those archives were kept had been destroyed “during various crises in Haiti” (Lecturer 11 Dec. 2018). The Lecturer explained that the information related to the investigations was subsequently forwarded to the Director General of the PNH (Lecturer 7 Dec. 2018).
2.1 Files Processed
The Lecturer indicated that from 2006 to 2008, vetting investigations were conducted in the regions and in Port-au-Prince and that approximately 4,000 to 5,000 PNH police officers were investigated (Lecturer 6 Dec. 2018). The Le Nouvellistearticle reports the following:
[Le NouvellisteEnglish version]
From January 2007 to December 2013[, of the] 8,463 investigation files opened, 758 officials were not recommended because they are facing disciplinary or judicial inquiries [before the Inspector General] and 5,052 active civil servants, police officers and staff were recommended. Certified officials can remain employed within the police force while those who have not been recommended according to Resolution 1608 may no longer be employed by the PNH or any of [its] services or units, and are not allowed to exercise any police duties in Haiti. (Le Nouvelliste24 Feb. 2014)
The MINUSTAH 2013 monthly newsletter reports the following:
Of the 7,167 files processed before the earthquake, for 9,000 police officers working in 2010, 3,600 files disappeared during the earthquake. After the recovery of the archive files that had not been affected, the process resumed in September 2011. Therefore, nearly 6,000 files are currently being processed.
Today, the PNH vetting process is completed in the departments of NordEst and Plateau central. Investigations are ongoing in the departments of Nord, Nord-Ouest, Artibonite and Nippes. In 2013, the priority will be to open investigations in the departments of Grande Anse, Sud, Sud-Est and Ouest, where the bulk of the police force, 4,500 officers and agents, are located. (UN Jan. 2013)
The UN 2014 report states the following:
Relaunched in the first half of 2012, the vetting process continued in 2013. …
The latest information gathered suggests that, since the 2010 earthquake, the only vetting investigations that have [been successful] have been conducted on candidates for initial training at the Police Academy. Prior to 2010, 3,583 police officers had been subjected to certification investigation, at the end of which 79 police officers and 13 candidates were not recommended. Since 2010, 2,255 candidates have been subject to certification investigation, at the end of which 81 candidates were not recommended. As of 31 December 2013, 2,625 serving police officers were undergoing certification investigation that had not yet been concluded. In short, it is estimated that just over half of serving personnel have been or are the subject of certification investigation. (UN June 2014, 20)
2.2 Certificates Issued
The Lecturer indicated that, for the period from 2006 to 2008, no documents were issued by MINUSTAH (Lecturer 7 Dec. 2018). The 2014 UN report indicates that according to the Chief Inspector of the Inspector General of the PNH (Inspection générale de la Police nationale d’Haïti, IGPNH), by the end of 2013, [translation] “more than 5,000 police officers were to receive their vetting certification in partnership with MINUSTAH” (UN June 2014). Le Nouvellistereports that a ceremony to present the [Le NouvellisteEnglish version] “vetting approval certificate[s]” was held on 21 February 2014 at the Pavilion of the PNH Academy, during which “83 individuals representing all bodies of [the] PNH” received their “certificate” (Le Nouvelliste24 Feb. 2014). According to the same source, during this ceremony, [translation] “the first certified” received their [Le NouvellisteEnglish version] “vetting approval certificate”; according to the MINUSTAH Police Commissioner, these were the “first selections sent officially to the Haitian authorities” (Le Nouvelliste24 Feb. 2014). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
Copies of documents issued by the PNH and MINUSTAH as part of the vetting process, including a copy of a 2009 letter attesting that an investigation into a police officer had been conducted (Attachment 1), a copy of a letter of dismissal from 2012 (Attachment 2) and a copy of a vetting approval certificate from 2016 (Attachment 3), sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Office of the Commissioner of Police of the UN Mission for the Support of Justice in Haiti (Mission des Nations Unies pour l’appui à la justice en Haïti, MINUJUSTH), are attached to this Response.
Information on the prevalence of fraudulent certificates could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Lecturer, Université de Montréal. 11 December 2018. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.
Lecturer, Université de Montréal. 7 December 2018. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.
Lecturer, Université de Montréal. 6 December 2018. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.
Le Nouvelliste. 24 February 2014. Hansy Mars. “83 policiers reçoivent leur certificat de bonne conduite .” [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]
United Nations (UN). June 2014. United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Rapport semestriel sur les droits de l’homme en Haïti: juillet-décembre 2013 . [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018]
United Nations (UN). January 2013. United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). “Développement de la Police nationale d’Haïti: Cap sur 2016 .” Les dossiers du mois, No. 006. [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018 ]
United Nations (UN). 22 June 2005. Security Council. Résolution 1608 (2005) . (S/RES/1608 (2005)) [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]
United Nations (UN). 30 April 2004. Security Council. Résolution 1542 (2004) . (S/RES/1542 (2004)) [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources:Associate professor, University of Ottawa; Haiti – consulate in Montreal, embassy in Ottawa, Police nationale d’Haïti; Réseau national de défense des droits humains; UN – UNHCR.
Internet sites, including:Centre pour l’innovation dans la gouvernance internationale; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme; Haiti Press Network; UN – UN News.
- Haiti and United Nations (UN). 25 September 2009. Police nationale d’Haïti (PNH), Inspection générale and United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Letter. Sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Office of the Police Commissioner of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), 10 December 2018.
- Haiti. 28 June 2012. Police nationale d’Haïti (PNH), Direction générale. “Renvoi - Recommandations des enquêteurs du processus de certification (vetting) émanant des travaux réalisés entre décembre 2007 et le 12 janvier 2010 (dossier vetting #5206).” Sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Office of the Police Commissioner of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), 10 December 2018.
- Haiti and United Nations (UN). 2 February 2016. Police nationale d’Haïti (PNH) and United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). “Certificat d’agrément.” Sent to the Research Directorate by a representative of the Office of the Police Commissioner of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), 10 December 2018.