2023 heralded significant transformations within the justice sector, ushering in pivotal changes that are poised to redefine legal proceedings and ensure a fairer justice system. Notable among these reforms are the extension of plea bargaining to all courts, the authorization of digital IDs, and the recalibration of penalties for infanticide cases linked to postpartum depression. Here are five pivotal alterations that transpired in the realm of justice in 2023; Mitigated sentences for Postpartum-Linked Infanticide An amendment to the criminal procedure in December introduced nuanced sentencing for cases where a woman, due to postpartum depression, causes the demise of her child under 12 months. ALSO READ: Ten major changes in the newly-amended penal law Upon conviction, the revised law stipulates a jail term ranging from six months to two years. However, crucially, confirmation of postpartum depression by a certified medical professional is a prerequisite. In contrast, infanticide devoid of this condition retains the penalty of life imprisonment. Nationwide Implementation of Plea Bargaining Initially launched in select intermediate courts towards the end of 2022, plea bargaining expanded its reach across all courts in the country in 2023. The widespread adoption of this mechanism facilitated the resolution of over 1500 cases within the initial eight months of its implementation. ALSO READ: 1500 cases settled through plea bargain in 8 months The efficacy of plea bargaining lies in its potential to expedite legal procedures, ensure swifter justice delivery, and alleviate court backlog and prison overcrowding. Parliamentary Approval for Digital IDs In May, the parliament approved legislation aimed at issuing digital IDs to Rwandan residents, encompassing children below five years old, refugees, and stateless individuals. With the parliament’s endorsement of the law governing population registration within the Single Digital Identity System (SDID), the issuance of digital IDs is projected to commence around 2025. Notably, Rwanda secured a financing agreement worth $40 million to facilitate the implementation of the digital ID system. Reformulated Parole Conditions December witnessed amendments to the criminal procedure, facilitating a significant shift in parole conditions for inmates. The revised framework allows inmates to petition for parole after serving just a quarter of their sentences, contrasting the previous requirement of serving at least two-thirds of their terms. Moreover, individuals with sentences exceeding five years can seek parole after completing only a third of their terms, while those sentenced to life imprisonment become eligible after serving 15 years. Applications for parole are evaluated by a committee upon submission to the Minister of Justice. Imprescriptible Nature of Child Defilement Further modifications in the criminal law designated child defilement as an imprescriptible crime, ensuring that offenders can be prosecuted irrespective of the time elapsed since the offense was committed. This change stands as a pivotal step towards seeking justice for victims and holding perpetrators accountable regardless of the passage of time. The landscape of justice in Rwanda has been significantly reshaped by these reforms, marking a decisive stride towards a more equitable and efficient legal framework. These changes not only underscore the commitment to justice but also signify a transformative journey towards a fairer and more responsive legal system for all Rwandans.