Like any other professional sector, the justice sector took a severe beating during the Genocide.
Not only were many judicial personnel killed or exiled, some even broke their oaths to uphold justice and actively took part in the killings.
After the Genocide, the courtrooms were empty, there were no prosecutors and our prisons were packed to the brim with Genocide suspects.
The judiciary had to be reinvented. It took some time before new personnel could be trained and to sail through the new hybrid legal systems that encompassed both Common and Civil Law.
The high number of Genocide suspects also had to be catered for. That is when the Gacaca courts – based on the traditional Rwandan justice system – was born.
Two decades later, the justice system has made a positive turnaround. A law development centre was set up and partnerships developed with other regional legal bodies.
It was only a matter of time before the sacrifices began paying off. The robust judiciary we now have is due to forward thinking, but most importantly, the application of new technologies that the government has been promoting
An example is the Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) that is now operational. It has not only streamlined access to justice, it has also reduced delays and transaction costs through the entire justice chain; from investigation to correctional services.
All this hard work has not gone unnoticed or recognized on the world stage, and today, the Ministry of Justice’s IECMS will be recognized in Washington DC for its ground breaking contribution to justice.
While other sectors have also embraced technology in service delivery, there is need for those still lagging behind to catch up.