CVHR Law Clerk Elaine McCreery to Be Published in Law Review

August 17, 2017

Written By: Pearl McAndrews

One of CVHR’s very own law clerks, Elaine McCreery, has been recently selected to publish her paper in the Indiana International and Comparative Law Review. The working title of her paper is “Human Rights Obligations In Post-Disaster Haiti: Working Towards Increased Justice for Victims of Gender-Based Violence,” and focuses on the history, laws, and activism surrounding sexual violence in Haiti.

This peer-edited journal selects pieces on various opinions, topics, and analyses in specific fields and is published at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. McCreery is currently a third-year law student at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law and has been with CVHR since May of 2016, where she enjoys combining service and law. She also recently received the Best Student Note Award for her law review paper.

Over the past seven years Haitian activists and lawmakers along with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), a pair of Haitian-US human rights organizations, have built upon a historical legacy of legal activism against sexual violence. A unique and consequential part of Haiti’s legal system to this issue is its ties to international treaties, such as those passed by the United Nations or the International Criminal Court. Haiti, as a state which uses a “monist” approach to international law, automatically adopts any international treaty it signs into its domestic legislation, allowing such laws to be adjudicated in national courts.

The resulting question, and the question McCreery seeks to answer throughout her paper, is what legal obligations does Haiti have to its citizens regarding sexual violence justice and prevention as a result of adopting these international laws? The paper classifies some of the international treaties of which Haiti is a party to, as well as their resulting effects on Haitian legislature. Throughout her research process, McCreery also spoke to lawyers from the IJDH and BAI in Haiti to learn about the work being done to prosecute such crimes.

This paper’s analysis is also contextualized within Haiti’s colonial, cultural, and intersectional history. The grassroots movement for sexual violence justice in Haiti began in the early 2000’s to address a lack of prosecution and awareness around domestic violence and sexual assault. Historical instances of sexual violence against women occurred during a period of military rule from 1991 to 1994, as well as by UN Peacekeepers after the 2004 governmental coup. After the 2010 earthquake, vulnerability for sexual violence victims increased dramatically due to a rise in displacement camp populations and a decline in domestic rule of law.

When asked about her inspiration for this paper’s subject, McCreery cited the important work of lawyers and activists involved with the IJDH and BAI, as well as her own desire to synthesize law and service. This combination was also her primary interest in the mission and work of CVHR, a combination she hopes to pursue and advocate more for in the future.