A total of 161 non-professional bailiffs and notaries were Thursday sworn in by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye who urged them to strive to ensure swift justice to their respective communities.
Those sworn in include 140 new cell and sector executive secretaries from districts across the country and 41 notaries at sectors, districts and Office of Ombudsman.
The law empowers local leaders to work as bailiffs as a way to reduce the final time court ruling is made to when it is executed.
During the event at the Ministry in Kimihurura, Busingye cautioned the bailiffs on efficiency, saying that the public should not be frustrated due to delays in the execution of court rulings made in their favour.
“I am encouraged by the increasing number of bailiffs. You must take justice to the people faster because you live with them in communities. Lack of time to execute court verdicts should not arise because this is part of your everyday public service responsibilities,” Busingye told bailiffs.
So far, there are 2,627 non-professional bailiffs accredited to execute court verdicts countrywide including 2,147 executive secretaries at cell level, 416 at Sector level, 30 at District level, three from the Ministry of Justice, one from the Office of the Ombudsman and 30 District MAJ representatives.
MAJ are legal aid officers deployed at districts.
Busingye warned that the increasing number of bailiffs should translate in swift service delivery and to avoid any delays in executing court verdicts.
He also cautioned them against any form of corruption, adding that wheels of justice are there and ready to bring to account anybody who falls in that trap.
“Any form of corruption should be desisted at any cost. Stay focused on your job of serving the community at no cost for the service rendered. Avoid any donations before and even after executing your duties,” he told them.
Notaries, on the other hand, were urged to expeditiously offer services and always be vigilant while notarising documents especially land titles to prevent conflicts in communities.
There are 910 notaries countrywide at the moment, from different levels of administration, including one at each sector, one at each district, two from Rwanda Governance Board, two from Rwanda Development Board, 10 from land administration, and at embassies.
Innocent Mushimiyimana, the Executive Secretary of Mataba Cell, Rubengera Sector in Karongi District urged fellow bailiffs to put public interests above anything else, adding that the rest will fall into place.
After swearing in, the new bailiffs are equipped with training so they can proceed efficient court verdicts execution in a timely way to better serve the community.
Last year, 2,651 verdicts from ordinary courts were executed and 21,493 Gacaca rulings disposed of.
This left a backlog of over 15,000 verdicts that need to be executed.
Busingye said, “You should start by narrowing this gap and make sure these cases are executed as soon as possible.”
The government also plans to run a digital platform that will define gaps existing between executed and non-executed court verdicts to determine the reason why they are not getting executed on time.