President Kagame encouraged members of the judiciary to keep working on furthering not only their technical know-how but also integrity in order to deliver quality justice.
“Knowledge and expertise is not enough. We have to figure out how to improve what we have in our hearts. It is up to you to decide how you use expertise and knowledge so that real justice may be delivered,” he said.
The President encouraged members of the country’s judiciary to keep a tougher stance on prosecuting grave crimes such as violence against children and women as well as human trafficking.
“We have to be thinking of those on the receiving end,” he said, urging the Judiciary to severely punish cases of extreme abuse against women.
Kagame also warned Rwandans that criticism of the country’s justice system as lacking independence, especially by those who claim to be custodians of international justice mainly based in Western countries, is not likely to end soon given the critics’ lack of honesty.
“The kind of duplicity we are used to is not ending soon,” he said, describing opinions made by many western observers as “dishonesty and deliberate distortions.”
“You are dealing with people who think they own you, treat you in a manner that doesn’t meet standard used for their own people,” the President said of Western commentators.
The Head of State also said recent reforms in the police, which saw the government moving to create the Rwanda Investigation Bureau and Rwanda Law Enforcement Academy among other changes, will help improve efficiency in law enforcement.
“Recent reforms of police and criminal justice agencies aim to strengthen our institutions. The effectiveness of the reorganisation will be evaluated against enhanced standards,” he said.
The Chief Justice, Prof. Sam Rugege, promised the President that judges will continue to improve their services to the people by doing everything to fight any cases of corruption, further leverage advances in ICT by using the already established electronic case management system, and by fast-tracking trials.
“The judicial sector will strive to provide quality and timely justice which is crucial for the country’s development,” the Chief Justice said.
Every year, President Kagame officiates at the launch of the Judicial Year, which serves as an opportunity to highlight achievements in the past year as well as plans to forge a better way forward for the justice sector.