Today, President Paul Kagame launched of judicial year 2013/2014 in Parliament calling on the judiciary to work on cases related to genocide ideology, human trafficking, corruption and other crimes that affect the well being of Rwandans.
Speaking at the launch, President Kagame thanked members of the judiciary for all that they achieved during previous judicial year but reminded them to stay focused because a lot remained to be done. "We all know that justice is an essential part of any country's development journey. When a country upholds the rule of law, it gives the people the confidence that they are all equal before the law and that they are all equally protected."
President Kagame also highlighted the need for all countries to have a stable and dedicated judiciary sector. "Every nation, rich or poor has to respect laws, no country should claim to have monopoly over the understanding of principles of justice."
The launch was characterised by highlights from the Bar Association, the Prosecutor's Office as well as the Chief Justice who discussed justice sector achievements over the last year.
President of Rwanda Bar Association, Athanase Rutabingwa spoke on the capacity building initiatives that lawyers have benefitted from in the last year highlighting that the Bar now has 734 lawyers of which 34% are women. He also announced that the Rwanda Bar Association was elected to chair the International Bar Association
Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga also explained that countries have shifted from universal jurisdiction prosecution process to extradition process allowing for the extradition of genocide fugitives. "A total of 46 international arrest warrants were sent to various countries with two high profile fugitives sent back to Rwanda for trial."
Speaking on the inaction of some countries to prosecute genocide fugitives, Mr. Ngoga said, "Genocide cases are too serious to be solved through just one symbolic trial."
Mr. Ngoga also announced that Rwanda now provides criminal record certificates within a day, both for national and international requests.
Chief Justice Sam Rugege presented some of the accomplishments of the sector last year saying that 28 new courts were built and 28 others rehabilitated and extended which has helped the judges to work in a more conducive environment as well as improve service delivery.
On service delivery, he said that the Supreme Court introduced the use of electronic -filing system, which was installed in courts across the country.
"For the year 2012-2013, the trend shows an increase in judgments issued by judges across all level of courts. On average, every judge issued 23 judgments per month, higher than the 15 judgments per judge target set at the beginning of the year," said Rugege.