The National Public Prosecution Authority on Friday held a consultative meeting with medics and investigators following an increase of defilement and rape cases in the last three years.
The workshop aimed at bringing all stakeholders on the same level of understanding the role of scientific evidence in investigation and prosecution of gender-based crimes.
According to Jean-Bosco Mutangana, the Prosecutor-General, they received 1,200 cases in 2015-2016 and over 2,200 as of March 2017.
“I think it is an issue that we have to discuss because we are seeing an increase of defilement and rape cases. We need to discuss with our partners on how we can bring foresinc science to courts,” Mutangana told reporters.
98 per cent of the suspects are mostly men. In the course of the last three years, only 40 males have reported alleging to have been raped.
In all gender-based cases presented by prosecution, child defilement was rated high at 99 per cent. Mutangana pointed out that there was need to sensitise the community as most rape cases are not reported as families hide evidence.
“We need to address the issue with our partners so that we can have secure conditions in court and gather all the evidence required while getting support from different stakeholders such as like medical personnel, government offices as well as the newly created Rwanda Investigation Bureau,” said Mutangana.
Prosecutors also say that they face challenges, including late reporting of rape cases, mainly in rural areas, though the conviction rate has increased during the last couple of years from 72 per cent to 84 per cent.
The director of Muhima District Hospital, Dr William Rutagengwa, pledged to sensitise nurses to quickly help victims as their role also serves to bring criminals to book.
Prosecution relies on Kigali Forensic Laboratory to handle scientific evidence in rape cases, but Mutangana said that some of the complicated forensic tests are sent to Germany because the laboratory in Kigali still lacks modern equipment.