Rwanda : Rwanda’s judiciary making progress
President Paul Kagame has said that there is no doubt that justice sector has grown in Rwanda and the people have gained trust in the judicial system, and won the recognition of other countries for its outstanding progress in pursing justice.
Kagame said that this progress have resulted to other countries transferring judicial case to Rwanda for trail, despite some political issues surrounding other cases that have been withheld
President Kagame was speaking at the launch of the 2012-2013 Judicial Year and swearing- in of a new member of Parliament, Clothilde Mukakarangwa, the new Ombudsman, Aloysie Cyanzayire and the new Army Chief of Staff, Major General Frank M. Kamanzi at Parliament on October 4.
Kagame said that the failure to have other cases transferred to Rwanda for trail should not be an issue since it is just a political rubric, which doesn’t necessarily have any relationship with the progress registered on ground in terms of capacity and ability to pursue justice.
“The problem that is here is not that we don’t have the ability to hand some of the cases. Those case that don’t come to Rwanda -is a political issue and we cannot do much… what we want is justice to continue growing, by working in transparence…avoid any behaviors involving corruption and bribery and work with a culture of discipline”
The President of the Supreme Court, Professor Sam Rugege thanked President Kagame for his commitment to creating an independent judiciary in Rwanda.
Enumerating the achievements of the justice sector, Rugege said that current statistics and international rankings (according to the World Economic Forum Competitiveness report) show that Rwandans have trust in their judicial system and that Transparency International survey shows that 80% of Rwandans believe justice is rendered fairly.
“Current statistics and international rankings show that Rwandans have trust in their judicial system. Rwanda comes on position 25 in world of justice and implementing justice, Tanzania 70th, Kenya in 85th, Burundi in 143th positions. Our justice has been commended even when sometimes our neighbors have continued to claim that there is no justice” he said.
He also highlighted the achievements saying that more than 80,000 cases were completed and rendered justice in the last judicial year.
Chief Justice Prof. Samuel Rugege said “There was commitment in judges and more cases have been resolved so as to have justice done on time and justice for the people was done”
Other recent improvements have been seen in the introduction of the use of ICT, video conferencing and database and computerized storage of 69961 cases- ( with a target to stored at least all cases from 2004. Use internet and website to publicize the activities of courts and help for research work for those interested.
In the wake of this progress, at least 35 judges have been suspended for cases of corruption and three of the permanently fired from the profession.
“We are not going to tolerate any misconduct and all judges should uphold the profession” Rugege said.
The Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga noted that the prosecution had been able to address challenge of case backlog by resolving 35,000 in the past year. He also said prosecution had been able to win all extradition cases for genocide suspects living abroad, and more than 80% of cases were taken to court.
“We are proud to declare that we have cleared all the case backload we had up to now.” Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga said “We have established a specialized unit to fight against gender-based and domestic violence”
“We have issued 146 international arrest warrants for fugitives from who are in more than 20 countries “We have built a Genocide Fugitive Database with more than 600 entries currently”
Lawyer Athanase Mutabingwa, the chairperson of Rwanda Bar Association highlighted the 2011- Bar achievements and said that the in the next five year, the forum will focus on capacity in terms continued legal education, improve services delivery, upholding the law and legal support for Rwandans, progressive integration into the EAC community, and promotion of gender equality in the association
He as the government to support the association by revisiting the law of reform on 1997 bill, increased capacity in law school, solicit master programs for the lawyers,
He also emphasized the need to uphold high level discipline and professionalism in the career of the law practitioners.