KIGALI - A set of laws is set to be amended to accommodate foreign judges to work in the country when commercial courts open next year. Already seven Mauritian judges are expected in the country to preside over the soon-to-commence commercial courts, according to the Judiciary.
The move was confirmed yesterday by the Secretary General of the Supreme Court, Anne Gahongayire.
The law establishing the commercial courts, which are going to consist of a Commercial High Court on the national level and three commercial courts, is currently in Parliament waiting for a nod from legislators.
“We are in talks with these judges…there are some issues we need to iron out before they come but talks are at their advanced stage,” Gahongayire said in an interview at her office.
The three commercial courts, which will be at the level of the Higher Instance Courts are; Nyarugenge Commercial Court (Kigali City), Huye Commercial Court (Southern Province) and Musanze Commercial Court in the Northern Province.
“We are working round the clock to ensure that all necessary equipment and human resource are in place so that the courts start operations by next year,” she said.
She said that this is done to create an environment that is friendlier to the private sector.
All the commercial litigations in the existing courts will be transferred to the commercial courts once they get underway, she said.
The reason behind selecting the three areas of operation for the commercial courts was based on the fact that they are busier compared to the rest and they will serve designated areas surrounding them.
Meanwhile, Gahongayire said that several laws are under amendment to accommodate these courts.
“In our existing laws, foreign judges are not allowed to practice in Rwanda and all these are being amended to allow them practice in Rwanda…we are however not only looking at recruiting foreign judges, we are also working at strengthening the capacities of our local judges,” she said.
Local judges will be sent on masters programmes in different universities outside the country, she said.
She explained that the main reason they chose Mauritian judges was because of the existing relationship between the judiciary of both countries.
“And also the fact that the country is bilingual is an added advantage,” she said.
The commercial courts will be located in the recently introduced judicial palaces, which are complexes that were built in different parts of the country to serve as courtrooms and offices of prosecutors of the higher instance courts.
“They will only share the infrastructure but the administration will be totally different,” Gahongayire said.
The Commercial High Court will be an appellate court for disputes from the commercial courts and finally to the Supreme Court.
There is a backload, estimated in thousands, of commercial litigations in various courts countrywide.