Comparative law and justice/Dominican Republic

Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project

Blackyylubi 19:34, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Basic Information


A very important symbol of the country is the flag. However, the flag of the country has a very important meaning.The centered white cross that extends to the edges divides the flag into four rectangles - the top ones are blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue; a small coat of arms featuring a shield supported by an olive branch (left) and a palm branch (right) is at the center of the cross; above the shield a blue ribbon displays the motto, DIOS, PATRIA, LIBERTAD (God, Fatherland, Liberty), and below the shield, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA appears on a red ribbon. [1]The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean and its location is about two thirds of the island Hispaniola. Dominican Republic is in between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean east of Haiti. The temperature in the Dominican Republic has seasonal variation and seasonal rainfalls. The majority of the time weather conditions compared to that of New England are wonderful.[2]The country population is 9,650,054 as of July 2009. 31.4 percent of the people in the country are between the ages of 0-14 years old [males: 1,543,141] [females: 1,488, 016]. 62.7% are between the ages of 15-64 years old (male: 3,087,351] [females: 2,960,319]. 5.9 percent of the population is over 65 years of age [males: 2, 64,476] [females: 305,751]. This statistical information is the structure of age in the Dominican Republic since data was last recorded in 2009. The countries population has grown over 1.489 percent. [3]

Most of the people in the county claim to be a part of the Roman Catholic religion. About 95 present of the people in the country are Catholics. The other 5% are within some small Protestant, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, Mormon and Jewish communities throughout the Dominican Republic as well. There are also some people who believe in Santeria (witch craft). [4]


Brief History


Hispaniola, the island on which the Dominican Republic is located, was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. This happened during Christopher Columbus voyage. He decided to name it La Espanola. Then in 1697, Spain discovered that France had control of their neighboring country Haiti. However, Haiti is known as the third Part of the Island. The Remainder of the Island was known as Santo Domingo it was governed by Haiti for 22 years. Then in 1844 the Dominican Republic they declared independent but, in 1861 they decided to go back to the Spanish Empire. Even though after, being govern by the Spanish Empire for two years they decided to declare a war and gain back their complete independence in 1965. Dominican Republic was ran by a dictator Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930-1961. After that Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. However, in 1666 Juaquin Balaguer won the election and was in power and had good control over the country for 30 years. Since then, Former President (1996-2000) Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna won election to a second term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term. [5]

The Dominican Republic became independent February 27, 1844 from Haiti. However, in the country February 27 is known as a national holiday. The constitution was established November 28, 1966 and it was amended on July 25, 2002.[6]

Economic development, Health & education


When it comes to the birthrate within the country 22.39 /birth/ 1000 in a population and the death rate is 5.28 death / 1000 in a population another, important statistic is the infant mortality rate there are 25.96 deaths within 1000 lives. The majority of the people in the country are expected to live till at least 73.7 years old. Also in the Dominican Republic there are women whom have 2 children within the period of the same year. When it comes to HIV/AIDS there are a lot of people in the Dominican Republic living with it. As sad as it may sound there are 62,000 throughout the country living with HIV/AIDS. Even though there have been 4,100 people in that country throughout many years that have died from HIV/AIDS. Along with other complications there are a lot of major infections and diseases within the Dominican Republic. People at times get sick from different foods and the contaminated water or from waterborne diseases. However, people with contaminated water diseases end up having Leptospirosis. Some of those diseases are known as diarrhea, hepatitis A, Typhoid fever. The vector borne diseases are known as Malaria and dengue fever.

When it comes to health related issues the Ministry of Public health went around the country immunizing people . They immunized more than 3, 00,000 around different provinces. Their goal was to reduce the risk of different diseases. They were also trying to reduce tetanus hepatitis b and pertussis. The country considered this to be an important event because since it is a 3rd world country and they need every health related resource that they can get. The doctor who proctored the whole thing found this to be a great thing found this to be a great opportunity for the country.

When it comes to the education in the Dominican Republic there are both public and private education institutions available. When children are in the public education system they are provided with one year of pre-schooling and with an education from grade 1-12. However, children are obligated under the laws of the country to at least go to school from pre-k till the 8th grade in order to be able to drop out. The major issue with some kids not going to school sometimes is because the education is free in public schools but, it is mandatory to wear a uniform. Since, they must wear a uniform some parents don’t have the money to pay for the uniforms and there not free. In the other hand private schools are not free. The parents of these children most pay if they want their child in private schools. Since, the parents pay for the education of their children those kids can start school at a nursery age. When it comes to the continuation of the education after the basic 12 years of schooling there are many public and private colleges in the country and there not free even if their public. 87% of the country population knows how to read and write. Even for those who are not fully educated by the age of 15 you are expected to know how to read and write.

The economy in the country has been established and it has been quite successful due to the whole service sector the country has. The large tourism industry through the country has helped the country’s economy maintain stable. The free zone industry they maintain a light manufacturing through the country has also helped out the country’s economy. The most important thing that has helped the economy is the trading system of imports and exports to and from the Dominican Republic. The country is involved in major trading of exporting goods with Canada the United States and U.K. A lot of the things that are exported from the country are: sugar, coffee, fruits, tobacco, cigars and things like that. There are goods that are imported from the United States, Venezuela and Mexico. The important things that get imported to the country are: wood, petroleum, pharmaceuticals and food products and other important goods. The whole idea of the trading industry is what has helped the countries economy get better it’s like running a business to and from the country. However, the country suffers from a major income inequality. The poorest population receive less than one fifth of the countries (GDP).when it comes up to the rich population of the country they enjoy 40% of it. There are a high number of people in the country that do not work. Due to the recession in the United States in 2009 the counties (GDP) went down but, this year their expecting an increase. The countries rate of (GDP) is at $44.72 billion and the (GDP) in general is at $78.89 billion. But, in 2009 the rate of its increase was at a -0.3%. The money however is all equivalent in U.S dollars not in Dominican Republic money.

[7] [8] [9] [10]



The Dominican Republic has three branches of government. In the executive branch, the chief of state is the former president Leonel Fernandez Reyna and the vice president Rafael Albuquerque de Castro ever since August 16, 2004. In other words, the president is the chief of state and the head of the government as well. In that country presidential elections are held on the same ticket as vice president. They are elected by the majority of popular vote. when they’re running in office they serve a four year term and also have the right to run for a second conservative term , the last election was held may 16 2008 and the next election will be held may 2012.From the last election Leonel Fernandez was reelected president by 53.6 percent . He ran against Miguel Vargas whose vote had 41 percent and Amable Aristy who had less than 5 percent.

When it comes to legislative ranch the cogresso nacional in other words the national congress consist of the senate known as the senado in this country there are 32 members in the senate who were elected by popular vote within the country .the house of representatives known as the camara de diputados has 178 members served for them who also are elected by popular vote .people in the senate and in the house get to serve a term of four years.

When it comes to the judicial branch the Supreme Court known as la corte suprema comprises of the president. Judges are appointed by the national judicial council as well as the president of the Supreme Court and a non congressional representative that is not governing in any way as well.[11]



In Dominican Republic the election age is 18. People are allowed to vote at 18, and are also legally to participate in any government activity. People are required to vote, but not all citizens attend elections due to the fact that they feel as thouh the country does not have any improvement.Members of the arm forces and national police cannot vote. Dominicans are required to have and ID, when they take out the ID they are imediately registered for elections.They are assing a place where they are required to go vote on election date. Elections are held every four years. Presidents elections are held every four years.Two years after the presidential elections, congretional elections are held. Congretional elections consists in electing new senators, majors, and helpers of office.[12] .[13]

Courts and Criminal Law




In the Dominican Republic death sentences are not allowed under any circumstances. When a person murderess someone they can do up to life in prison depending on the murder.When people steal something from someone or someone’s house and there able to escape but then get caught by authority they get put into to jail and must pay a fine in order to get out of jail. However when they don’t have the money they must do the time for their crime. The weird thing about the Dominican republic in regardless to robbery is that if someone goes inside your home to try to steal from you and your at home while this act is occurring and you fear them and you shoot them for self defense and they die you don’t not get put in jail for the crime because they should of never been stealing from you in the first place.Corporal punishment under no circumstances is allowed. They don’t execute people. Since the Dominican Republic is considered as a third world country and poor compare to the United States. With this being said what talks in the Dominican Republic is money if you can’t afford a layer to back you up in a case you’re pretty much on your own and left in jail. Jail cells in the Dominican Republic are overcrowded since the prison rate is high. Two of the most known jails are La Victoria and Najayo in the capital of the Dominican Republic.In this country regardless of your age if you do a crime you must do the time. But they have a training school base jail for minors. When it comes to religious beliefs in the Dominican Republic you have the right to belief whatever you want to belief without any interference .they have bigger problems to deal with in regards’ to crime and religion is not one of them.Citation: [14]


When it comes to the Dominican Republic and the courts they have no jury. Judges are the ones who decide and declare a case in the aspect of weather someone is guilty or not. When it comes to hearing cases in the court room the only person to be present in the court room are the 2 lawyer from the prosecutor or the defender. In addition to that in the Dominican Republic they have the Supreme Court of justice and tribunal. When it comes to decisions of courts the Supreme Court plays the higher role in decisions and whatever the Supreme Court decides no one can object. In addition courts in the Dominican Republic run differently and are viewed differently than courts in the United States. Courts over there are divided from minor cases to major cases. It’s not like in the United States that you can have all different kind of cases going on all at once in one court room. In the Dominican Republic they like to have cases separated from each other so that all cases relating to one topic are in one room. For example all drug cases are heard in on room, and all divorce cases are heard in another. However that doesn’t mean that a judge that is only good for that one type of case it’s just the way the Dominican republic keeps there courts organized.Citation: [15]

Law Enforcement


In the Dominican Republic they have three types of law enforcement agencies. They are called Policia Nacional Dominicana,witch is directed by Mayor General Rafael Guerrero Peralta, P.N.Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD) president of this department is Lic. Rolando E. Rosado Mateo. Departamento Nacional de Investigacion (DNI)is under the direction of General Ramón Antonio Aquino Garcia. Policia Nacional Dominicana is in charged of the human resources, legal process, citizens complaints and all other legal problems. Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas is an institution whose objective is to suppress and prevent drug trafficking and drug use through preventive programs carried out at different levels of the population.Departamento Nacional de Investigaciones (DNI)is in charge of maintining national security, stability and order, as well as prosperity continuity of the Dominican State.The military is only use or needed in a case of national security. They do not attend to everyday problems, they only attend national problems and are only supposed to be on duty when the President makes the call. (DNCD) [16][17]

Crime Rates and Public Opinion


When it comes to crime rates within the country in 2007 38% of deaths were in relation to crime related activities. Even though, within the time period of 2008-2009 the number of death related to crime related activities increased by 65.5%. When it comes to the victims of these crimes 58% of them were between the age of 18 and 34 years old which is still quite young. In the majority of crimes in the country 62% happen between the hours of 6-pm till 6am and 52.5% of them happen Monday – Thursday. After all 92.6% of the victims of the crime are men that do not cooperate with the person committing the crime.[18] The most common crimes that take place in the country, are robberies and car theft as well as going into private homes to steal. Another, crime that is out of control is the whole idea of kidnapping people for money as well as stealing peoples purses and cell phones on busy streets and in bad neighborhoods . Most of the crimes take place in the capital of the country Santo Domingo, La Vega, San José de Ocoa, San Cristobal and in Santiago. these crimes tend to be done be people who are less fortunate and are a bit poor and at times just migrate the upper class neighborhoods to steal and make a living. One of the major reasons why things like this happen in this country is because of the lack of unemployment.[19] Another problem is that the country faces is their high demand with drugs and alcohol being at such an easy access for people. Since, drugs and alcohol are at such an easy access for those people who drink and are on drugs have a great possibility of getting involved in crime related activities. The whole idea of drug trading between people in the country and drug traffickers also creates problems that involve crime related activities. In addition, weapons are at a very easy access and that is one of the biggest reasons why there are a lot of crime related issues within the country.[20]



Family Law


Every country has its own way to look at marriage but when you’re getting married in the Dominican Republic and you’re from the U.S you must plan accordingly with your time. Since there are a few steps you must follow before you can get married. The couple must be registered in the (city clerk) La officina Del Estado Civil. They most both have legal passports if they’re not residents of the Dominican Republic along with an original birth certificate for each person is required. Along with that they must have an affidavit of a Single status if their single if the couple is not originally from the Dominican Republic they must pay to have it translated to Spanish by the consulate. If you happened to be getting remarried they need a certificate of divorce and under the special divorce law this person must wait 24 hours after they give in the certificate in order to get married and if they are not from Dominican Republic they must get the certificate translated in Spanish by the consulate as well. In addition, when getting married there you also need a statutory of declaration form to be notarized by a lawyer or a solicitator and each individual getting married needs one. As we all know paper work is done for free this may cost you up to $455.00 for the process of the marriage.

However if the wedding is hosted by a resort or a hotel fees may vary and they help you get the whole process complete. When getting married you must have two witnesses along with the person performing the marriage. The person whom is playing the role of witness must have an identification if their Dominican they must a (cedula) known as an ID and if the witness are not from the country they must have a valid passport. When the marriages take place as a civil ceremony after the ceremony is performed the couple is provided with documentation stating that their married and it is legal all around the world after the Oficialia Del Estado Civil will give them a marriage certificate. When you get married by the church things are a bit more formal and the couple getting married must fulfills the civil requirements as well as the church requirements. Religious marriages have the same legal rights as civil marriages when it comes to legal documentation. In the Dominican Republic men at the age of 16 and women at the age of 15 are allowed to get married without their parents consent. No one under that age my get married unless under certain circumstances the judge allows the marriage to take place in civil marriages. No one is allowed to be married to two people at the same time. In the case of women they must wait a time period of 10 months after the divorce became final before they can remarry unless their planning to marry the same person the divorced. However at the time that the civil marriage is taken place the government official that is hosting the ceremony has the right to waive this requirement but the wavier must be in writing. When the wedding ceremony is taken place if either the bride or the groom was married before that must provide the date and the name of the person to whom they were once married. The only way a person is no longer considered married is if one of the two spouses dies or if they get a legal divorce. The same laws apply to marriages that have taken place in the church.

When it comes to matrimonial property laws there are different ways in which this takes place in this country you either both have rights to the property under the common property law when both men and the women have the same rights to everything owned between the couple. As well as the separate property law when everyone is left responsible of like their own debt within the marriage but the husband is left responsible for his own debt and for the debt of the wife while he was still being represented as if he was married.

On august 8, 1990 the Dominican Republic signed a convention on the rights of children. Then on June 11, 1991 the convention was ratified. In 2004 the country adopted a new code that protected children and adolescents law163-03 El Codigo para el Sistema de Protection y los Derechos Fundamentales de Los Niños y niñas. This was related to everything in the country in regards to children for example parental rights, adoption, guardianship and custody. Children have the right to speak up and give their opinion when it comes to the whole idea of any of these cases according to the law in the Dominican Republic. When all of this was established they came up with a family court system for children know as Tribunal del niño y niñas y adolescente. However since resources are limited in the country sometimes laws can be ignored. Parent’s rights can be terminated if the child is being neglected and mistreated especially when there is evidence to prove it. Researches shown that the majority of children in the Dominican Republic where or are victims of abuse but because of the lack of resources lots of cases are un- reported. In most cases the person being the abuser is either a close family friend or a relative. However, they are trying to come up with a way to have these thing not happen and find a solution to the problem but it is very time consuming but their working on it. By law people should not be mistreating children they must care for them but not abuse them.[21][22][23]

Human Rights & Social inequaliy


In Dominican Republic the number of unlawful killings by security has raised in 2008. When it comes to the Haitian Dominicans and Haitians in general they face some serious issues within the country in ideal of human rights. When it comes to a person’s rights to health they try to warn people to be advised of people who have HIV & AIDS. Under the rights to a person’s health the Joint United Nation Programmer on HIV & AIDS warn people that there was an epidemic in regards to AIDS. There was a point in time that there were more people with HIV & AIDS than what the country was able to control. In poor neighborhoods were people of low resources lived like batays has highest demand for HIV & AIDS due to their lack of resources.

People with HIV & AIDS in the country have to face a very high demand of discrimination within the country in regards to the acceptance by society. When it comes to the work place people fear to hire people with AIDS they are high discriminated because of their illness. This how a human right is described as to when it comes to a serious illness in the country.When it comes to the right of policing and security the force they have a very lacking ability in their government and even in the way of helping and trying to solve a situation. They have a very high level of violent crimes in some neighborhoods. Information states there where 298 people who were killed by the police between January and August however, there has been a major concern in regards to human rights because the number of fatal shootings have been very unlawful. That led to having a lot of police officers expelled from the service for beginning corrupted and were asked to retake some training to try to improve their policing, but since not many allegations were made the system still continues to be corrupt with individuals and rights. There are millions of cases where police officers take advantage of the people’s rights just because they are an authority figure.When it comes to access of nationality they also face a high rate of discrimination because of the fact that there are a lot black of dark skin colored Dominicans. So what they do is examine closely documentation before renewal or registration. However under the human rights they should not be discriminated because of their color. They were also mandated to immediately provide legal documentation to all Dominican Haitians. Its shows that regardless of the discrimination they play against them they have human rights that protects them.

When it comes to expulsions in the country in regards to the human rights organization there were more than 6000 Haitians that were sent back to Haiti in the first 6 months of the year. The majority of those deportations that took place were not done legally right under the international legal right standard. They were reports that the state they were mistreated by immigration officials and security forces. In addition the human right organization also stated that there were many Haitian children who happen to be trafficked into the Dominican Republic for the use of agricultural and domestic work. That was just not right the way those children were being treated as a working object instead of providing them with a fuel blown education but organization of human rights did try to help those children who’s cases were reported. When it comes to the rights of freedom of expressions of human under the right of a journalist in the Dominican Republic reports have shown that many of the workers are intimidated harassed on the job as to how they are to express them self’s on their job. At times they where even threatened by their employer physically or verbally as to the things they can or can not say.[24]

Works Cited

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  10. "Dominican Republic Economy by" Dominican Republic Travel Guide. Web. Mar. 2010. <>.
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  12. Personal Reference
  13. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. Feb. 2010. <>.
  14. (Personal references for this information)
  15. (Personal references for this information)
  16. Policía Nacional Dominicana. Web. Mar. 2010. <>.
  17. "Direccion Nacional De Control De Drogas DNCD. Gobierno Dominicano De República Dominicana. Tu Portal Dominicano." Directorio De República Dominicana. Tu Portal Dominicano. Web. Mar. 2010. <>.
  18. "OSAC - Dominican Republic 2009 Crime & Safety Report." OSAC - Overseas Security Advisory Council. Web. Apr. 2010. <>.
  19. "OSAC - Dominican Republic 2009 Crime & Safety Report." OSAC - Overseas Security Advisory Council. Web. Apr. 2010. <>.
  20. "OSAC - Dominican Republic 2009 Crime & Safety Report." OSAC - Overseas Security Advisory Council. Web. Apr. 2010. <>.
  21. "Legal Options For Marriage in the Dominican Republic - U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic." Embassy of the United States Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Home. Web. Apr. 2010. <>.
  22. "Legal Options For Divorce in the Dominican Republic - U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic." Embassy of the United States Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Home. Web. Apr. 2010. <>.
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