In a major campaign to clear the image of judicial institutions and inculcate discipline, the judiciary has expelled 25 members of staff involved in corruption and indiscipline since 2007.
This was revealed yesterday by Chief Justice Aloysie Cyanzayire while addressing a Press Conference on the Status of the Judiciary today.
In response to a question on whether judicial reforms implemented since 2004 have tackled reported indiscipline and corruption among court workers, Cyanzaire said that court authorities have taken strong measures to address public complaints on corruption and dishonesty.
“Following massive judicial reforms in 2004, among other things, we monitor the performance of Judges and this way; some have been expelled by the High Council of the Judiciary while others who make minor mistakes are punished and reinstated.”
“I am not saying that we are the cleanest institution, but as you are aware, not all people can maintain a clean record, but we take strong measures where such cases arise,” Cyanzayire said.
When asked where the judiciary would wish to be ranked in the 2009 Ombudsman’s Report, she replied that if there is any place it should be ‘number one’.
“We wouldn’t want to be ranked in this report but if anything we should be ranked first in the fight against corruption, the records are there to show.”
The 2008 Ombudsman report ranked Judiciary the second most corrupt institution but it did not go down well with the body, provoking angry responses from top judicial officials.
Without mentioning names, the Chief Justice said that among 25 workers expelled, 16 of them have been expelled over corruption related issues.
According to Regis Rukundakuvuga the courts inspector General, all expelled workers can not work anywhere in the judicial system of Rwanda.
Even though Rwanda’s judiciary has managed to reduce the time a case should stay in court, it still has a pile of backlog of cases.
While some countries have a limited time of one year, Rwandan judiciary has put a deadline of six month to have completed a case.
Over 40,000 cases are incomplete this year after struggling to clear cases that had spent over ten years, some that date back to the 80’s.
The Chief Justice dismissed fears that cases will be rushed without following the right procedures in a bid to clear the backlog, saying that most judges are now qualified which has increased their and quality of judgement.
“I appreciate the work the courts have done, they have multiplied three times in speeding up trial of cases compared to how it was before judicial reform,” Cyanzayire stressed.
She also said discussions are conducted to find a way government should regain back funds lost in several embezzlement cases against its employees who loose the corruption cases in courts.