The new High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes will help the country not only fight crime, but also adhere to international standards, according to Chief Justice, Prof Sam Rugege.
Rugege was speaking at the inauguration of the four-storied facility located in Nyanza town, Southern Province on Thursday.
The complex hosts the High Court Chamber of International and Cross-border Crimes, the High Court Chamber of Nyanza, the International Crimes Unit of the National Public Prosecution Authority.
It also houses the primary court of Busasamana.
“The facility offers modern court facilities that meet international standards; it will improve the national capacity to efficiently and fairly try the Genocide cases referred to Rwanda by the ICTR and our jurisdictions.” Rugege said.
The court will now host the cases of Genocide fugitives transferred to Rwanda for trial from different countries.
According to Rugege, the additional court premises should be yet another incentive for the international community to extradite genocide fugitives who still roam on their territory.
So far, Rwanda has sent out 845 indictments to different countries but only 17 fugitives have been extradited or deported from different countries, mainly in Europe.
“Some countries have extradited genocide suspects to Rwanda for trial, which is a vote of confidence for the Rwandan justice system. However, there are those who hesitant to transfer fugitives to Rwanda.
The construction of the Nyanza Court house commenced on December 1, 2012 with initial funding equivalent to Rw4 billion from the Dutch government.
This project was counter-funded by almost a half (Rwf2bn) of the same amount by the government of Rwanda,” said Beth Murora, the Secretary General of the Supreme Court said.
Murora noted that facility will enhance quality expertise in indictments and judgment, and provide conducive working environment for the trial of genocide other cases of international nature transferred from outside Rwanda by availing appropriate physical and operational infrastructure.
On her part, Frédérique de Man, the Dutch ambassador to Rwanda urged the judiciary to uphold the high level of professionalism if they are to earn to trust from the international community who continue to harbor some of the suspected genocide fugitives.
The Netherlands has extradited two Genocide suspects since 2016 namely, Jean-Claude Iyamuremye, 42, and Jean Baptiste Mugimba, 59.
The extradition, she said, was a lengthy process which was keenly followed by the Dutch government and Parliament, civil society, international media and academics and the key question at that time surrounded around Rwanda’s capacity to give free and fair trial to the suspected Genocide fugitives.
Meanwhile, Rugege commended the support by the Netherlands to the Rwandan Justice Sector particularly in the construction and upgrade of about six Court Houses and Tribunals such as one in Gasabo, Gicumbi, Nyarugenge and Ngoma.
The Specialised Chamber for International Crimes of the High Court has effectively moved to its new premises in Nyanza District.
The chamber has been hosted at the High Court in Kigali since its establishment in 2012.