President Paul Kagame has asked responsible organs to collaborate in solving the issue of mismanaged cases since not doing so tarnishes the image of the judiciary and other organs of the country. The head of state mentioned this as he officially launched the 2019-2020 Judicial Year.
The start of 2019-2020 Judicial Year coincided with the end of the 8-year term of the Chief Justice Prof. Sam Rugege. The president of the republic praised the work done by the judiciary and the President of the Supreme Court particularly. He also commented on the appeal made by lawyers to change certain laws, which he elaborated portrays the trust citizens have for the justice organ.
“It has been evident in several occasions that
lawyers extended cases related to laws they consider not to serve the general
interest of the public or unconstitutional for there to be a proper direction.
People dare to mention it because they have faith that they will be heard and
understood, but if it was not the case, theY would be silent with place
to submit their cases," President Kagame said.
The mandate of members of the supreme court was characterized by reforms in policies and governance of courts in the past 15 years, including the use of the Integrated Electronic Case Management System all aimed at providing deft judicial services that are transparent.
The reforms reduced the time a submitted case awaits before trial from 7 months to 4 months, adjourned court cases reduced from 29% to 20%, pending cases reduced from 20% to 8%, while retried cases reduced to 3% from 19%
The prosecution also delights the in court cases it wins, currently at 90% in general however with concerns that cases continue to increase yet with limited staffs. The prosecution also says this shows the increase in crime rate in the Rwandan society.
According to the 2018/2019 judicial year figures, the past 3 years, the prosecution received increased by 78%, moving from 25000 in 2015/2016 to 45000 by 2018/2019.
Prof. Sam Rugege explained that this was a challenge that needed urgent solutions
though there is a lot to be admired, there are challenges we have continued to
face that even until now have not be solved. We can talk about the number of court
cases that increase yet with the limited number of staff. Even though there have
been measures taken as we explained, the solutions we provide come as water
poured onto the fire to extinguish it temporarily if measures are not taken to curb
conflicts that lead to court cases," Rugege said.
President Kagame asked responsible organs to make the judiciary more professional and also helping in mitigating crimes, he added that installing heavy penalties might reduce the increase in crimes.
President Kagame also mentioned that the judiciary had not reached the level Rwandans want.
"You have seen that when I meet citizens in the country or abroad, the issue of mismanaged cases always comes up. This is a reflection of shortcomings across many institutions and should serve as a reminder to improve. We have to learn from our failures and work to correct them," Kagame noted.
The 2019-2020 Judicial Year launch comes after Rwanda Governance Board released the Rwanda Governance Scorecard that seeks to gauge the state of governance in the country and the justice organ had 88.34%
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