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

No. 1018

Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith for the Department’s information, a copy of the proposed amendments to the Constitution which President Borno is submitting to the National Assembly for its preliminary consideration.

I have [etc.]

John H. Russell

Draft Amendments to the Haitian Constitution

In view of articles 128 and D of the Constitution and on the advice of the Council of Secretaries of State, the President has proposed and the Council of State has adopted the following amendments to the Constitution in force:

Article 1. The following articles of the Constitution are modified:

First Amendment

Article 2 is modified as follows: “The territory of the Republic is divided into departments. Each department is subdivided into arrondissements, and each arrondissement into communes. The number, the boundaries, the organization and the functions of the administrative divisions and subdivisions are determined by law.”

Second Amendment

Article 16 is modified as follows: “The liberty of the press is guaranteed, under conditions determined by law.”

Third Amendment

Article 19 is modified as follows: “The jury is established for criminal trials in the cases which will be determined by law.”

[Page 49]

Fourth Amendment

Article 37 is modified as follows: “The Senators represent the departments. They are elected by universal and direct suffrage in the primary assemblies of the several departments according to the mode and conditions determined by law. The candidates shall be elected who shall have obtained the greatest number of votes in the departments. The Senate shall be renewed by thirds every two years, under the conditions determined by law.”

Fifth Amendment

Article 67 is modified as follows: “Laws are dated from the day of their definitive adoption by the two Chambers, but they become effective only after promulgation which is made conformably to law. The interpretation of the laws by authority belongs only to the Legislative Power; it is given in the form of a law.”

Sixth Amendment

Article 72 is modified as follows: “The President of the Republic is elected for six years. He takes office on May 15, except when elected outside the term fixed in article 43, and in the latter case the taking of the oath takes place on the day set by the National Assembly in the week following the election. He is eligible for reelection. A President who has been reelected and has exercised Executive Power for at least ten years shall not be invested with a third mandate until after a space of six years. A citizen who has been elected President three times is no longer eligible for this office.”

Seventh Amendment

Article 83 is modified as follows: “There are five Secretaries of State. The President of the Republic may, when he deems necessary, add to them Under Secretaries of State whose attributions shall be determined by law. The Secretaries of State and the Under Secretaries of State are assigned to the several ministerial departments that the services of the State require. An arrête will fix this assignment conformably to law.”

Eighth Amendment

Article 89 is modified as follows: “The Judicial Power is exercised by a Court of Cassation and by inferior courts whose number, organization, and jurisdiction are regulated by law. The President of the Republic names the judges of all the courts. He appoints and recalls the officers of the public ministry near the Court of Cassation and the other courts, the justices of the peace and their substitutes. [Page 50] The judges of the Court of Cassation and those of the permanent courts other than the justices of the peace are named for five years, under reservation of causes determined by law susceptible of putting an end to their functions. They may be reappointed indefinitely.”

Ninth Amendment

Article 107 is modified as follows: “The primary assemblies shall meet at regular periods for the purposes and according to the mode established by law.”

Tenth Amendment

Article 109 is modified as follows: “The taxes accruing to the State and to the communes can be established only by a law.”

Eleventh Amendment

Article 118 is modified as follows: “A police force, under regulations fixed by law, is established for the internal and external security of the Republic, the guarantee of the rights of the people, the maintenance of order and for police duty in the cities and the rural districts. It is the only armed force of the Republic.”

Twelfth Amendment

Article E is modified as follows: “Within a period of twelve months from the publication of the present amendments the Executive Power is authorized to proceed to make all changes in the present personnel of the Courts that he deems necessary. The judges retained, like the new judges, shall be furnished with a commission the date of which shall be the date from which starts the five-year term provided in article 89.”

  • Article 2. Articles 90 to 99, inclusive, of the Constitution are suppressed, and articles 103 to 106, inclusive.
  • Article 3. The aforesaid amendments shall be submitted to popular ratification at the next biennial meeting of the primary assemblies.”
By the President:
[Here follow the spaces for the names of the five Secretaries of State.]
  1. Translation supplied by the editor.