President Paul Kagame has commended the country’s Justice Sector for their efforts and commitment in ensuring that Rwandans live in a law-abiding community.
The President, who was speaking at the official opening of the 2016/2017 Judicial Year at Parliament, pointed out that the Justice Sector’s performance is reflected in the high trust that Rwandan citizens have in the country’s Justice System.
The 2015 Citizen Report Card (CRC) published by the Rwanda Governance Board has shown that 88.02% of Rwandans have trust in the country’s Justice System.
President Kagame explained that the recent reforms of police and criminal justice agencies aim to strengthen institutions in the Justice Sector. He revealed that the effectiveness of the reorganisation will be evaluated against enhanced standards.
The Head of State further called on those at the helm of the country’s Judiciary to ensure that the new Integrated Case Management System is fully functional as it is critical to quality service delivery in the sector.
Through an Integrated Case Management System, those filing lawsuits can do it online and be able to follow up on the progress of the filed cases. This has contributed to a tremendous improvement in the completion of cases, whereby the rate of adjournment for various reasons has been reduced by 80%.
“Judicial personnel must always be beyond reproach for the Judiciary to serve its purpose and maintain confidence of citizens. Knowledge and expertise is not enough. We have to figure out how to improve what we have in our hearts. It is up to you to decide how you use expertise and knowledge so that real justice may be delivered,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame reminded members of Rwanda’s Judiciary that the kind of duplicity in the international justice system is not ending soon as some countries continue to use international jurisdictions to push their political agendas.
“You are dealing with people who think they own you, and treat you in a manner that doesn’t meet standards used for their own people. We have decided that we are not going to be deterred from our responsibility to deliver justice and dignity that Rwandans deserve,” President Kagame said.
In the last Judicial Year (2016/2017), 25,453 lawsuits were received by the National Prosecution Authority of which 25,285 cases were completed. 206 lawsuits were filed to foreign countries for crimes committed on Rwandan soil.
In his remarks, Chief Justice Sam Rugege expressed the Judiciary’s commitment to improving service delivery towards boosting citizens’ trust in the Justice System.
“This year, we have reduced the backlog of cases by 70%. The number of days from filing a case to passing the judgement has been reduced to three months down from seven months in 2011,” Chief Justice Rugege said.
According to the National Prosecutor General, crimes like public funds embezzlement, human trafficking, sexual abuse, and Genocide related crimes are given priority. In the last Judicial Year, 205 alleged public funds embezzlers were sent to courts.
The opening of the Judicial Year was attended by senior government officials, judges of the Supreme Court and High Court, and other members of the Judiciary.