The High Commissioner in Haiti (Russell) to the Secretary of State

No. 80

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of the Moniteur containing the law on the organization of the Claims Commission, and I also attach a translation thereof.

I have [etc.]

John H. Russell

Haitian Law of October 30, 1922, Establishing a Claims Commission

Louis Borno, President of the Republic,

In consideration of article 55 of the Constitution;1

In consideration of the treaty of September 16, 1915, concluded between the Republic of Haiti and the United States of America;2

In consideration of the law of June 26, 1922,3 sanctioning the protocol of October 3, 1919;

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In consideration of the necessity to provide for the payment of the salaries and expenses of the members of the Claims Commission and of the personnel which shall be attached to it, and also of the necessity to confer on the said Commission all the powers required to liquidate and settle satisfactorily the pecuniary claims of societies, companies, citizens, or subjects of Haiti or of foreign countries, now held against the State;

On the report of the Secretary of State for Finance and Commerce,

And on the advice of the Council of Secretaries of State,

Has Proposed,

And the Council of State has voted, the following law:

Article I. Each member of the Commission provided for in article 2 of the protocol of October 3, 1919, shall take the following oath before the Court of Cassation:

“I swear and promise to exercise all the powers vested in me as a member of the Claims Commission without passion and with all impartiality, and not to divulge or reveal any decision of the said Commission before it has been made public by competent authority.”

Article II. The secretary and the other members of the personnel, who shall be nominated by the President of the Republic, shall take the following oath before the President of the Commission:

“I swear that I will keep a true record of the claims presented to the Commission and of the proofs furnished to uphold said claims, and that I will not divulge any decision of the Commission nor any vote or personal opinion of any member.”

Article III. The Commission shall be presided over by the member designated by it.

Article IV. To the Commission are delegated all the necessary powers to gather all testimony, to open all inquests, and to proceed with all investigations capable of enlightening it upon the grounds and the validity of the claims and the fixing of their total amount.

Article V. Any person who, without valid reason, fails to appear before the Commission when called upon by it to do so, shall, at the denunciation of the President and on the request of the Ministère Public, be condemned by the Correctional Tribunal to a fine varying from $5 to $2,000, according to the circumstances of the case. Any person who is found guilty of false testimony shall be turned over to the tribunal competent to judge such person in accordance with the law.

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Such cases as are hereinabove provided for shall be judged at once, whether out of turn or not and without right of appeal or cassation, all business being meanwhile suspended.

Article VI. The secretary shall have the custody of the records of the Commission and shall keep the procès verbaux of all the meetings, duly signed by him and by the members.

Article VII. The Commission shall be empowered to communicate directly with all individuals, all functionaries of the Government, and with the Banque Nationale de la Républic d’Haiti insofar as it is custodian of funds of the Republic; and it is made obligatory upon all functionaries and employees of the Government to aid and assist the Commission whenever required.

Article VIII. The decisions of the Commission shall be without right of appeal, except under anterior diplomatic conventions.

Article IX. An extraordinary credit of fifty thousand dollars American gold ($50,000) is opened at the Department of Finance to pay the members of the Commission and the personnel attached to it, and to defray all the expenses of the said Commission. This sum shall be drawn from available funds in the receipts of the Treasury.

Article X. When the Commission is dissolved, the secretary shall turn over to the Government all papers and records to be catalogued in the office of the General Archives of the Republic.

Article XI. The present law abrogates all laws or provisions of law contrary to it, and it shall be executed under the diligence of the Secretary of State for Finance and Commerce.

Given at the Legislative Palace, Port au Prince, October 30, 1922, the 119th year of independence.

The President,
J. M. Grandoit

The Secretaries,
Delabarre Pierre-Louis
Charles Fombrun