All institutions within the judicial sector should work as a team to deliver better justice as it is crucial for socio-economic development of the country.
The call was made, Thursday, by the Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, while closing a peer review retreat for the Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector in Rubavu District.
The two-day peer review symposium brought together government institutions, development partners, members of private sector as well as civil society organisations.
Busingye said justice can be achieved only when all concerned institutions and partners work as a team to discuss possible ways in which equitable justice can be offered as well as challenges faced.
“We all have the responsibility to ensure justice is fully granted, we have come a long way as the justice sector and this never happened accidently, it was thanks to our combined efforts,” he said.
Minister Busingye said Rwanda had committed to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council and urged justice sector to support it as this was the only way the country’s human rights record would be assessed.
Chief Justice Sam Rugege said while a lot had been achieved in terms of professionalising the sector, there was still need for more efforts to tackle challenges such as lack of advanced infrastructure, adapting to usage of ICT and increasing the number of qualified staff to deliver better services and avoid backlogs in the courts.
Valens Munyabagisha, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Internal Security, said during this financial year, the rate at which court judgements have been appealed against more than halved from 28 per cent in 2011/2012 to 13.5 per cent.
The average time taken for commercial cases from filing to court decision also significantly reduced from 180 days in 2012/2013 to 58 days last financial year.
Development partners hailed justice sector and reiterated continuous support to ensure better justice is offered in the country.
“While we definitely note the tremendous progress made in the justice sector, we also notice that one of the challenges that still remain is to accelerate the processing of cases in the courts, we are very pleased to know that EDPRSII has identified improvements of access to justice as one of the key pillars,” said Lamin Manneh, the UN resident coordinator.