PRESIDENT Paul Kagame has urged members of the judiciary to help expedite criminal cases, which he said constitute a major threat to the country’s socio-economic life.
He particularly cited corruption, human and drug trafficking, and genocide ideology as some of the crimes that need special attention.
The President was speaking at the launch of the 2013/14 Judicial Year at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura yesterday.
“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,” Kagame said.
He added: “The principles of justice are universal. Every nation, rich or poor, has the ability to dispense justice.”
Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga said the year 2012/13 was productive for the judiciary, noting that cases before the courts were expedited and the judiciary continued to earn trust of foreign jurisdictions, resulting in the transfer of several high-profile suspects to Rwanda.
But the prosecutor criticised some countries that continue to be safe havens for Genocide fugitives, singling out France as one of such countries.
He added that some countries had deliberately turned down Rwanda’s requests for arrest and extradition of top suspected Genocide masterminds while others have staged sham trials to create an impression that they were acting on Kigali’s requests.
“Genocide cases are too serious to be solved through just one symbolic trial,” he warned.
Over the last judicial year, Rwanda sent some 46 indictments to 16 countries, including in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Canada.
Chief Justice Sam Rugege said the sector continued to make impressive strides after it was left devastated by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We have achieved quite a lot but it’s always work in progress,” he said.
He particularly highlighted the sector’s steps against corruption, including dealing with some among its own accused of graft.
The Chief Justice cited lack of adequate transport facilities and some rundown courtrooms among the challenges they face.
Rugege asked the government to extend a transport facility to the judicial personnel.
Kagame pledged government’s support to address the issues.