Haiti and the pitfalls of sharing police powers

March 2022
John D. Ciorciarci (University of Michigan)

Abstract: This article examines the benefits and pitfalls of international policing in Haiti over the past quarter century. It shows the importance of the political foundations for joint policing arrangements. Haiti's experience illustrates that international personnel can provide useful stopgap policing services when the interests of national and international partners converge around public order crises. However, the Haitian case also shows how weak political commitment on one or both sides can lead to vague mandates, poor cooperation in the field, weak police accountability, and stalled domestic reforms. These problems have undermined the performance of international personnel and the Haitian National Police, eroding public trust in both. Ultimately, international intervention has failed to yield a capable, trusted, and apolitical Haitian police force or a notably stronger rule of law. Haiti thus offers a cautionary tale for international policing.