Technology has eased access to justice – official

When the Rwandan judiciary went digital, questions arose mainly about how such advanced technology which includes electronic filing of cases and Video-Tele-Conference (VTC) equipment would facilitate the effective and expeditious delivery of justice.
Judges attend a meeting yesterday where staff from across the country were connected via tele-conferencing. (John Mbanda)
Judges attend a meeting yesterday where staff from across the country were connected via tele-conferencing. (John Mbanda)

When the Rwandan judiciary went digital, questions arose mainly about how such advanced technology which includes electronic filing of cases and Video-Tele-Conference (VTC) equipment would facilitate the effective and expeditious delivery of justice.

Today, judicial practitioners attribute much of the effectiveness in delivering justice to the use of technology, saying that work has become easier and faster.

According to the spokesperson of the judiciary, Emmanuel Intumwa, this is thanks to the electronic filing of cases.

“When a case is filed electronically, it becomes easier to handle since clerks don’t have to carry piles of papers going to court. We have offices across the country with skilled personnel that assist the public file their cases,” he said.

Intumwa was speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the quarterly meeting of judicial practitioners.

The official said the use of VTC, which was introduced in 2012, has enriched trials since the courts can reach out to witnesses in all parts on the country.

“We have these facilities here in Kigali, Risizi, Ngoma and Huye, that’s how we manage to cover all parts of the country.  These mechanisms have also brought us closer to achieving our target of ensuring that adjourned trials are less than 10 per cent in all courts,” he said.

During the quarterly judicial review, the president of the High Court, Charles Kaliwabo, said the evaluation is mainly meant to boost the performance of courts.

“We have not yet achieved our target of reducing trial adjournments to less than 10 per cent but there are clear signs that we are on track,” he said.

 Most adjournments were now mainly because defendants at times fail to  show up in court, or when one of the parties on trial claims to have not read the case file, which results into automatic adjournment.

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