The Court of Jacmel, Restoring over 100 years of history

Three years ago, the Court of First Instance in Jacmel was a crumbled heap that didn't bode well for restoration plans. Even the engineer who would eventually oversee the restoration effort, Jean-Marie Dutreuil, thought the once-proud, 100 year old building was fit only to be leveled to the ground. It is the good fortune of the city, the country and the many inmates overrun in the Jacmel prison who are awaiting trial that a little bit of faith was extended, and a very important part of Haiti's judicial history will be fit to stand for at least another 100 years.


It took three years and much work by the Institute for the Protection of National Heritage (ISPAN) and their partner in the restoration, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to bring the old courthouse back to its former glory. The ISPAN provided the expertise and the UNDP the resources to rejuvenate the site which is listed as one of Haiti's Historical Heritage sites. The first stages of the rehabilitation included the restoration of the roof and masonry work. The building has also been reinforced to meet the current earthquake standards and the bricks restored by the firm ENAMEX, contracted by the UNDP to undertake the work directed by the architect Johel Alexandre.

With a new lease on life and an insurance plan valued at $350,000 USD, funded by the UNDP, the courthouse is set to serve Jacmel for many years to come and can do so better than ever with additions like their newly functioning archive, new furniture and office equipment.

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