Government is set to table before parliament a draft organic law establishing the court of appeal as it seeks to slash the backlog of work and cases at the Supreme Court and to fast track structures of timely justice.
This is part of the recent cabinet resolutions passed on Wednesday October 12.
In a post cabinet press conference convened, yesterday, at the Office of the Prime Minister, the newly appointed state minister in charge of Constitution and Legal Affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana, told the media that establishment of the court of appeal was timely and very critical for the country’s development agenda.
“This court will in terms of hierarchy be between the High Court/Military High Court and the Supreme Court, and is set first to clear backlog of pending cases at the Supreme Court, before it goes to the normal sequence of adjudicating cases that will be transferred from subordinate courts,” he said.
According to the state minister, government has so far designed two regulating bills, one being the organic law establishing the court of appeal while the other will govern its functions and organization.
“So far according to the draft law which is subject to modification should it reach at the parliament, the court will have 13 judges, comprising of a president and a vice-president, and we are looking at appointing some of the judges from the Supreme Court to the Appeal Court once the law is adopted,” he added.
Explaining further the importance of the court, Uwizeyimana stated that its functions will make it flexible for the Supreme Court to exercise its main functions which is to adjudicate high profile cases, provide guidance to subordinate courts and interprete the constitution.
The changes will also affect amendments of other laws like the one determining the organisation, functioning and jurisdiction of courts; Organic Law determining the organization, functioning and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, among others.
During the opening of the judicial year earlier this week, Chief Justice Prof. Sam Rugege stated that part of the main challenge faced by his court was lengthy time filed cases take before they are disposed off, saying that at times it takes up to four years.
Should the court be instituted, it will first handle cases that are yet to be tried by the Supreme Court while those already in the trial will remain in the hands of the Supreme Court.
The decision of the court of appeal can as well be appealed against at the Supreme Court if deemed necessary.