The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, yesterday met legal advisors seconded to districts to help ordinary citizens access legal services, saying their appointment was out of the urgency to take judicial services closer to the population.
The meeting was attended by over 30 lawyers who represented 14 districts so far covered in the country.
The Minister said that the work of these lawyers as stipulated in the Rwandan Constitution is very vital and pledged that soon all districts will have these services.
Karugarama reminded the jurists that the services they offer should be given free of charge to all citizens, urging them not to impose charges like consultation fees.
He urged the lawyers to act as a link between the government and the people, especially those in the countryside by organizing seminars on access to justice for public’s benefit.
The legal advisors are also supposed to train mediators (Abunzi) on legal matters so as to solve petty cases and to provide legal advice to the population in order to reduce on the backlog of cases in courts.
The minister strongly encouraged the lawyers to work tirelessly to achieve the 2012 goal set by the ministry whereby the entire population should have access to legal services in every corner of the country.
“The Abunzi have done a recommendable job so far and come March 2010, we shall employ them on a 5-year contract basis, instead of the current two years,” said the Minister.