•Warns against graft
President Paul Kagame yesterday commended the country’s Judiciary’s performance in 2008 and pledged more government support towards helping the institution perform even better in 2009.
He gave the assurance yesterday while officiating at the official ceremony to mark the beginning the 2009 National Judicial Year, an event that was held at the Parliamentary Building.
The ceremony, the fourth of its kind, brought together members from all organs of the judiciary including judges, prosecutors and lawyers.
It is an annual event that also weighs achievements and challenges of the previous year as well as setting targets the institution seeks to meet in the coming year.
Kagame commended the Judiciary for the reforms and achievements registered in 2008 and encouraged all stakeholders in the institution to ensure that justice prevails down to the grassroots.
He however noted that there is need to improve on service delivery in the sector, by especially ensuring speedy and quality judgement of cases and also ensuring that everyone enjoys their right to justice regardless of who they are.
The President decried the bureaucracy and delays in court cases which become costly for ordinary Rwandans and discourages potential investors and visitors in the country. He noted that justice delayed is justice denied and a disincentive to development.
Kagame singled out corruption as a major stumbling block towards establishing a strong and efficient judiciary, urging all practitioners in the institution to desist from acts of corruption saying that it becomes extremely difficult for justice to prevail when the vice is still existent.
He also noted that while some of the challenges in the sector may be long term and might even require help from outside, the immediate challenges such as corruption, delayed judgements and others could be solved locally through the will of the people.
The President of the Supreme Court Aloysia Cyanzaire, pledged to continue with major reforms in the sector to ensure speedy and quality judgement in cases.
In the same development, Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga underscored that more effort will be directed towards fighting corruption and clamping down all individuals involved in mismanaging public funds.
He hinted on a new report to be released soon implicating government officials misappropriating funds meant for constructing houses for the needy; as well as a report on the mismanagement of FARG funds meant for Genocide survivors.
The Prosecutor General promised to deal with the culprits as soon as the reports are out.