EFFECTIVE June 1 (yesterday), all courts countrywide started operating under Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS), a digital way of handling cases.
The implication is that complainants can now file cases to the Supreme Court, the High Court and its chambers, the Commercial High Court and other commercial courts, to the intermediate courts and primary courts, online.
In a statement, Chief Justice Sam Rugege said the system also allows the user to monitor progress of their filed cases online, without having to go to the court’s registry.
First launched in January 2016 at the pilot level in Kigali, IECMS is said to have proven to provide rapid and efficient justice, which enables courts to address the issue of accumulation of case backlog.
Besides Nyarugunga Primary Court in Kicukiro District, all courts at different levels of jurisdiction in the City of Kigali have sicne been linked to the system.
Moise Nkundabarashi, a trial lawyer with Trust Law Chambers, told The New Times yesterday that this is great news for them as they will no longer have to travel kilometres to courts out of Kigali following up clients’ cases.
“This will enhance our interaction with courts as far as we can access judgments online. For example, I will no longer have to travel to Rusizi (Western Province) for case follow-up because now all Rwandan courts are connected to the system,” he said.
Nkundabarashi said there are a lot errands that previously necessitated them to go to courts, like collecting summaries of court rulings which they are now accessing online.
Emmanuel Itamwa Mahame, the spokesperson for the Judiciary, said the system reduced the time a case used to spend before court, eliminated duplication and reduced operational costs.
“The system contributes immensely to changing the whole justice system to a more effective one, and reduces corruption risks as accusers do not stand a chance to meet judges in person,” said Itamwa.
Itamwa added that exhibits are now recorded and preserved online, which is a big boost to the delivery of justice in the country.
“Everyone involved in a case can follow it up using the platform which is available at https://iecms.gov.rw/en/ and explanation on how to go about it can be found on YouTube.”
The system also consists of an institutional integration and coordination framework among different stakeholders involved in judicial dispensation, including Rwanda National Police, National Public Prosecution Authority, courts, the Ministry of Justice, and Rwanda Correctional Services.
Others are National Identification Agency, Rwanda Revenue Authority, and Rwanda Natural Resources Authority. It helps ease data collection and processing.
The Ministry of Justice said the system development contract was signed on December 29, 2014, between the ministry and an American company, Synergy International Systems, at a cost of more than Rwf1.25 billion.