Venuste Tuyizere, who had been accused of being an accomplice in a theft crime, spent nine months at the Gicumbi Correctional Facility awaiting his substantive trial. However, on April 24th, he was among the 120 inmates who were released through the new plea bargaining initiative, which was launched last year. ALSO READ: Six things you need to know about the plea bargain Tuyizere praised the initiative, arguing that he had learned his lesson over the past nine months and that this was his second chance to integrate into society and serve as an example to others. In law, plea bargaining is the practice of negotiating an agreement between the prosecution and the defense, whereby the defendant pleads guilty to particular charges in exchange for a more lenient sentence or other possibilities that may even include dismissal of the charges, said the court spokesperson, Harrison Mutabazi. ALSO READ: Rwanda judiciary to roll out plea bargain on October 12 Officially rolled out in Rwanda's criminal justice system in October last year, the initiative is in a pilot phase for the next five years, from select court jurisdictions and on two crimes before it can be considered for expansion. It began with a pilot phase in five intermediate courts: Gasabo, Nyarugenge, Gicumbi, Muhanga, and Musanze on the crimes of assault and battery, as well as theft. Mutabazi stated that nearly 400 trials have already been resolved through plea bargaining, estimating that approximately 800 cases could be resolved through plea bargaining by the end of this year. The initiative not only reduces backlogs in courts and overcrowding in prisons but also helps investigators easily get key information from suspects, which can be used in fighting organized crime. In a past interview with The New Times, Marie-Louise Mukashema, a lawyer based in Kigali praised the procedure, saying it is within the interest of justice if people who have agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors get reduced or suspended sentences. “We want the citizens to know more about this arrangement because it is for their benefit. They should know that they have an opportunity for plea-bargaining in case they are being prosecuted,” she noted.