The Haitian Chapter of the IAWJ (CHAIFEJ) Held an Online Memorial Service for Judge Mimose Janvier

Remarks by the Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, President of the IAWJ

As President of the International Association of Women Judges, I speak to you tonight with great sadness from Washington DC. Our hearts go out to her husband, her daughter, the rest of her family and those closest to her. Accompanying me is Anne Goldstein, who is the IAWJ Director of Human Rights Education. She will be my French voice tonight. Thank you Anne. I regret I am unable to do so myself but it would not meet the standard of excellence set by Magistrate Mimose Janvier. I also wish to thank Jane Charles-Voltaire, IAWJ Senior Program Officer, for the wonderful collage of photographs that contain so many memories. All I could see was Judge Mimose’s radiant smile.

Judge Mimose Janvier is being justly praised tonight for all she did for the cause of upholding the law, for equal justice and for the protection of vulnerable children. And she is lovingly remembered for the kind, warm, and caring person she was.

Judge Mimose was a judicial leader and educator. She led by educating others and she never stopped educating herself. You have heard from Judge Thorburn about her advanced studies on international financial crimes in Canada several years ago. As a result of her judicial experience and intellectual rigor, she was able to understand and to convey to others interconnections that are not always evident, for example, those between human trafficking, official corruption, and international financial crimes — and the consequent need for international cooperation.

She demonstrated the wisdom of her understanding of those subjects and interconnections when she spoke at a regional conference on human trafficking that focused precisely on regional trafficking flows and collaboration held less than a year ago in Santo Domingo. Before her untimely death, she was working on incorporating materials on official corruption in the training on human trafficking being developed by CHAIFEJ, the IAWJ and the judicial training school. Replacing her deep knowledge and savvy will be impossible, but her imprint on that work will continue.

Judge Mimose led as the immediate Past President of CHAIFEJ, the Haitian chapter of the International Association of Women Judges. She took the reins at a delicate time that required strength of character and integrity. She succeeded.

In the IAWJ, we treasure the friendships we make, we recognize our members’ accomplishments and we celebrate successes. We also mourn, as we do today, when a bright star such as Judge Mimose leaves us. This is a terrible loss for our sister judges in Haiti. And also for our sister judges worldwide, many of whom came to know, respect and love Judge Mimose. Her inspiration to do better, her warmth and caring were palpable and drew people to her.

IAWJ professional staff members Anne Goldstein and Jane Charles-Voltaire have worked with CHAIFEJ judges over the years. They have often spoken of Judge Mimose’s substantive contributions to the programs. When talking about her, the words that describe her are “incorruptible” and “fearless.” And also “warm, generous, good-hearted.” She was passionate about protecting children and was heartbroken when she was unable to hold accountable a UN development worker who had raped a child because of legal immunities granted to workers of international organizations working in Haiti after the earthquake.

Last year, I had the honor of participating in the ceremony in Port-au-Prince marking the completion of a 3-year IAWJ-CHAIFEJ human trafficking program. Speeches were made, awards were given out, and good food was eaten. Then Judge Mimose gave a long and passionate talk about CHAIFEJ’s founding, what it stood for, the strength of its members, and its programs. There were slides shown as she spoke. She was so proud of CHAIFEJ. I was mesmerized and recorded most of it on my phone.

Beyond Haiti, beyond the Caribbean region, Judge Mimose is known as a valued IAWJ member and a presence at IAWJ activities and events, including as a member of the IAWJ delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women last year.

Judge Mimose has many friends among the 6000 members of the IAWJ from all over the world who admire and love her. We will miss her. But in everything we do, we will try to make her proud by acting with the same fearlessness, integrity, and humanity she showed.

The full video recording of the memorial service is available here.