The new law governing statutes of judges and judicial personnel has abolished the recruitment tests for judges of the High Court and the Commercial High Court judges. As a result, those judges shall instead be appointed by the High Council of the Judiciary upon recommendation by the Bureau of the Judiciary. They will be appointed based on their integrity, expertise and excellence they are known of in their career, and in their normal private life, other than gauging their capacity on their level of passing recruitment tests. The law was voted by the plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday, December 03, 2020. All the 64 MPs who participated in the session voted for it. The legislation provides that the High Court or Commercial High Court judges are selected from judges; prosecutors; advocates; university lecturers in the faculty of law with a Master’s Degree in law; and other legal practitioners. They must all have at least eight years of working experience in the legal field. On why the recruitment exams for these judges were scrapped, Soline Nyirahabimana, State Minister in Charge of Constitutional and Legal Affairs told The New Times that “candidates are often individuals who have had the know-how and stability in their [judicial] career.” However, she said that their selection will be careful enough to ensure that those who meet the requirements are the ones appointed to such a position. Performance evaluation In addition, the law provides that the President and the vice president of the Court of Appeal shall have a term of five years renewable once. This law gives the president of the Supreme Court 30 days to notify the Head of State about a judicial vacancy. Initially this was not provided for. It stipulates that judges who are appointed by the Presidential Order shall not be subjected to performance evaluation. It also provides that they shall be promoted in the same manner as other officials on the same grade. This provision is different from that of the law of 2013 governing statute of judges and other judicial personnel which stated that apart from the president and the vice-president of the Supreme Court, the rest of the judges appointed by the Presidential Order shall be subjected to performance evaluation. Yet, according to those who prepared the law, this contravened with other laws that governed other officials on the same grade. It is for that purpose that this law is put in place to harmonise the same. “What is expected from those judges is the quality of the verdicts they make – jurisprudence – which provide a model and precedence that other judges should emulate, and by so doing, they can contribute to the advancement of the country’s judiciary,” Nyirahabimana said. It is to note that in a bid to emphasise the goal of administering equitable justice, the experience required of person who wants to be judges or judicial personnel governed by this law was raised. In general, a two years’ experience increment was applied on each post since the judicial duties require persons with sufficient expertise and experience.