EAC Speaker wants bloc to adopt Gacaca

KIGALI - East African countries should adopt Gacaca system of jurisdiction as a means of clearing the backlog of cases in their judicial system, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Abdirahin Haithar Abdi, has recommended. Gacaca is a Rwandan traditional participatory justice system that has hitherto helped prosecute hundreds of thousands of Genocide-related crimes. Abdirahin said that Gacaca courts are the best way of solving Africa’s problems since they are derived from African tradition.
Abdirahin Haither (right) and Rwanda’s Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Alfred Mukezamfura upon the former’s arrival at Kigali International Airport on Wednesday. (Photo/G. Barya)
Abdirahin Haither (right) and Rwanda’s Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Alfred Mukezamfura upon the former’s arrival at Kigali International Airport on Wednesday. (Photo/G. Barya)

KIGALI - East African countries should adopt Gacaca system of jurisdiction as a means of clearing the backlog of cases in their judicial system, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Abdirahin Haithar Abdi, has recommended. Gacaca is a Rwandan traditional participatory justice system that has hitherto helped prosecute hundreds of thousands of Genocide-related crimes. Abdirahin said that Gacaca courts are the best way of solving Africa’s problems since they are derived from African tradition.

“Rwanda is an innovator; using traditional culture to deal with problems confronting our communities is something that can assist in eradicating the culture of impunity among citizens,” Abdirahin, who is in the country on 5-day visit, said yesterday.

“In most cases, we fear to use our traditional jurisdiction methods but here it is implemented and has proved to be successful. It has assisted people so that justice is not delayed,” Abdirahin added

He noted that the system gives information from the grassroot level since it uses people with integrity and respected by the society.

He also described it as the best way of resolving local disputes.

Now that Rwanda is a member of the East African Community (EAC), he said, the system would be considered as an example to other member states.

Abdirahin, accompanied by other EALA officials, was speaking during a visit to the Ministry of Justice (Minijust) head offices in Kimihurura.

The Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat for Gacaca Jurisdictions, Domitilla Mukantaganzwa, told the EALA delegation that Gacaca courts have helped in dealing with the after-effects of Genocide by bringing about peace and reconciliation in the country.

The EALA delegates are in the country to share their experiences on how the national assemblies and political parties in the original three EAC partner states went about the process of electing nine representatives to the regional assembly.

In that regard, Abdirahin urged Rwanda to elect her representatives to the EALA so as to fully participate in the regional bloc.

He arrived in the country on August 29 and was received by Alfred Mukezemfura, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, at Kigali International Airport.

Rwanda and Burundi signed the EAC Accession Treaty on June 18 in Kampala, Uganda. The original EAC members are Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.Ends

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