NCBA Mourns Death of Port-Au-Prince Bar Association President

The following is a message from the NCBA to its members regarding the death of Port-au-Prince Bar Association President Monferrier Dorval.

Patriot for the Rule of Law

​Tragic news emerged from Haiti last week. In the driveway of his residence, Port-au-Prince Bar Association President Monferrier Dorval had died suddenly and violently from multiple gunshot wounds.

Monsieur Dorval used his platform vocally to advocate for improvements in Haiti’s legal system. On the day of his death, in a radio interview, he lamented institutional breakdown and promoted reform of Haiti’s constitution. In a country where the rule of law is tenuous and violence is common, challenging the levers of power is dangerous. He never made it home.

​Since 2016, Port-au-Prince and North Carolina lawyers have built a close bond. We have visited each other on nine different occasions. Attorneys, judges, law students, and public officials have worked together, broken bread together, laughed together, and awkwardly but cheerfully breached the barriers of language and culture to build personal and professional friendships. We have met each other’s families. We have hosted each other in our offices, courtrooms, and homes.

Monsieur Dorval was a friend of the North Carolina Bar Association and contributed personally to that relationship, and he was committed to continuing it. Just last year, in June 2019, he planned to attend the North Carolina Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Asheville until civil unrest in Haiti interfered. More recently, in a conference call on March 9, 2020—just hours before the international pandemic declaration—he discussed attending the NCBA’s 2020 meeting and worked on plans for future joint projects including a small-firm attorney exchange, a prosecutor exchange, and a legal ethics program at the Elon University School of Law. Upon learning of his death, Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman aptly described him as “a patriot for the rule of law.”

On September 3, Port-au-Prince lawyers marched from Monsieur Dorval’s law office to the steps of Haiti’s Supreme Court, protesting his violent death. The Haitian Bar Federation declared that attorneys throughout Haiti would suspend legal proceedings until his funeral.

The North Carolina Bar Association mourns with our friends and colleagues in Port-au-Prince. We admire Monsieur Dorval’s courage, we celebrate his commitment to the rule of law, and we honor his sacrifice for the people of Haiti.