EDPRS to transform judicial sector

The 2003 Constitution puts much emphasis on the separation of powers by creating independent institutions

The 2003 Constitution puts much emphasis on the separation of powers by creating independent institutions.

Parliamentary, Presidential, and Mediation Committee elections were successfully held in 2003, 2004. Currently an all-party group is drawing up a code of conduct for parties and politicians.

The government has continued supporting civic education and national grassroots consultations, training sessions (Ingando), and sessions for the reintegration of ex-rebels from the DR Congo.

A national mainstreaming policy on unity and reconciliation is still in the development process. Civic education on reconciliation is continuously being integrated into the national curriculum.

Government of Rwanda introduced the Criminal justice and Gacaca, the pilot phase started in 2002 and countrywide information gathering phase began in 2005.

The target size for the Police Force and the role of Local Defense Forces was reviewed in 2002.

Also accountability mechanisms for Police to the local communities, Laws that eliminate discriminating against women and other groups enacted.

A sector strategy for Public Order and Safety developed. New prisons were constructed and moved from cities to rural areas.
Biogas initiatives were established in half the prisons.

New laws were enacted, old ones reviewed, and new institutions were established. National Human Rights Commission continued to promote and protect human rights in Rwanda, in close collaboration with civil society.

Monitoring of Gacaca and Government policies with respect to human rights.

Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order has been able to achieve the following

Justice Sector Reform which was completed in 2004.
An elaborate sector strategy for the Justice Sector was written reflecting the justice institution priorities and challenges and main stakeholders in the sector.

A Justice Service Commission was established, and its members approved the terms of reference in June 2005.
A legal assistance national strategy framework has been developed, enforced with the creation of Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD) in Nyanza.

The Institute is a permanent cross cutting Justice Sector capacity building initiative that aims at improving the quality of lawyers, judges, prosecutors and other legal sector services.

An inspection regime built in the Judiciary and Prosecution Services has been established to check among other things the ethics and integrity standards of personnel.

A cell was created to oversee the business law reform process and identify and eliminate legislative and regulatory constraints to investment and development of a strong private sector.

The population has been sensitised on the new laws and their right to report cases of injustice.

All codes and laws will be put in digital form and made available on line in the immediate future.

Cooperation with the International Court Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR), has been strengthened.

The ICTR is drawing up its completion strategy.

Rwanda believes it is the logical destination where the work of ICTR will be continued. A Task Force constituted by representatives of the Government of Rwanda was established to work on national readiness for receiving ICTR’s work.

 Mediation committees (Abunzi) intended to provide a framework for obligatory mediation prior to litigation in any court of law was established by the constitution.

1545 abunzi committees were set up in sectors to provide community level arbitration for minor disputes.

In addition to reducing the caseload in courts, it has provided a cheap and easier process of obtaining legal remedies for the general population by bringing justice closer to the people.

All mediators were trained in conflict management.

The Rwanda National Police developed a community policing approach thereby establishing mechanisms to ensure accountability of law enforcement officers towards local people and to monitor the quality of delivered services.

The rate of crime is estimated to have gone down as a result of community sensitization and reported crime rate reduced by 30 per cent from 2003 to 2004, and by 11 per cent from 2005 to 2006.

 A law on the management of the National Prison Service has been drafted, approved by Cabinet and awaiting endorsement from Parliament. Social workers in prisons were trained in health and sanitation in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Prison staff was trained in accountancy (accountants, project managers, staff in charge with production and stock keepers) and penal law (directors and registrars).

The Office of the Ombudsman is mandated to fight injustices and corruption.

This office has coordinated and implemented the mass mobilization and sensitization of Prefects, Mayors, Sector Councils, opinion leaders, Directors of public and private institutions, students of secondary schools, universities and high institutes and the general population on how to fight corruption and injustice.

Enormous progress is reported in priorities like areas of constitutional reform, national reconciliation, criminal justice, Gacaca, and human rights.

EDPRS targets 
Continued commitment of the government in strengthening the legal system to maintain security, reconciliation, law and order, which provides the essential foundations for political and economic stability.

Special attention to ensure that the indicators in the Justice sector specifically indicate whether the poorest are gaining access to legal services, only poverty indicators and clear mechanisms for monitoring can lead to a stronger correlation between Justice Sector spending and its impact on poor groups or areas.

A clear strategy should be elaborated on how to ensure and measure access to justice for the poor and how this relates to poverty reduction.

The importance of the rights of local communities in decision-making processes must be considered, with planned actions and methods to ensure that communities are able to effectively engage in decision-making.

EDPRS needs to reflect on linkages with the Millennium Development Goals. Good governance and justice form however the basis and enabling environment to attain the Millennium Development Goals.



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