New Rwf8bn project to fight graft, enhance access to justice

A new project to help fight corruption and enhance access to justice in the country is set to kick off next month.

This was announced Wednesday by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye during a consultative meeting between government entities in the justice sector and different stakeholders.

Among the participants included the ministry, the Office of the Ombudsman, diplomats and civil society organisations.

The meeting aimed at gathering inputs from the stakeholder for the successful implementation of the three-year project which is expected to cost at least €8 million (approx. Rwf8 billion).

It will be funded by the European Union.

“This project will enhance access to justice by building capacity of the Ombudsman office to reach ordinary citizens in the villages. Access to justice is a citizens’ right and that is why more outreach activities are needed to approach citizens at village level,” he said.

“It will equip citizens with knowledge and skills to play their role in fighting injustice, corruption and design teaching manuals,” he noted.

Busingye added that more mediators (Abunzi) at cell level would be trained in handling complaints about injustice.

At least 30 investigators will be trained on investigating techniques and evidence collection in corruption cases, others will be trained in assets tracing and recovery, while another 30 in operational audits.

Also to receive training will be 14,832 persons in charge of information at village level.

“Good governance and accountability are part of key pillars of Rwanda’s transformation strategy and to ensure these pillars are achieved we need complementary synergy in partnership with civil societies. The contribution of civil society in enhancing access to justice and fighting corruption is critical. The impact of the new project should be felt by ordinary citizens in the villages,” Busingye added.

The Deputy Ombudsman, Odette Yankurije, welcomed the project saying fighting corruption and injustice is a big contribution towards ensuring effective and efficient governance.

“We have priority activities that need funding namely research in corruption, capacity building, sensitization, fighting corruption and injustice. By building capacity of our institution, we will be able to bring positive impact in fighting injustice and corruption,” she said.

Nicola Bellomo, the European Union envoy to Rwanda, said that the new efforts in fighting corruption and injustice in Rwanda will also “boost good reputation for the country considering that Rwanda is top destination for those who wish to do business”.

“Fighting injustice as pillar of development need financing mechanisms. We have to strengthen investigation in corruption cases but also we have to engage citizens in fighting all kinds of injustice and corruption. We have to upgrade capacity of both institutions and citizens as well as ensuring functional justice system,” he said adding that raising awareness of rights to justice among citizens must be considered.

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