An international NGO, International Bridges of Justice (IBJ), in partnership with the Rwandan Bar Association, enrolled over 80 lawyers in a two-day skills training workshop with the objective of supplementing their capacity to support vulnerable people in society.
IBJ Programme Director, Sanjeewa Liyanage, said during an interview, that the training is aimed at equipping lawyers with legal skills that will help them represent their clients better, especially vulnerable people who may not afford legal fees.
“We are committed to providing legal representation to vulnerable people like juveniles, poor people and widows who can’t afford lawyers when they are implicated in crimes,” Liyanage said.
“This training will motivate and build a community of lawyers who will use their knowledge to defend the rights of ordinary people and also support the already strong judicial system of Rwanda”.
John Bosco Bugingo, the Country Manager and Rwanda Advocate in IBJ, said that the Bar Association had identified over 50 cases of poor people accused for crimes to be supported by the lawyers involved in the training.
“We collaborate with government institutions like prisons and courts to identify people who need our assistance by providing them with early legal representations so that they can get a fair hearing,” Bugingo said.
“This ultimately helps to decongest prisons as well as promote the justice system”.
Liyanage added that IBJ is currently working with the East African Law Society to develop a handbook manual for lawyers in the region that will foster collaboration and improve the profession.
International Bridges to Justice is based in Geneva, Switzerland.