KIGALI - Hundreds of legal practitioners gathered at the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, to bid farewell their colleague, Jean Haguma, who passed away last week.
Haguma 60, died at King Faisal Hospital on July 16, 2010 due to kidney failure, according to a close relative.
The former head of the Kigali Bar Association is survived by a widow and three children.
Clad in their customary gowns, mourning lawyers, prosecutors and judges gathered in a courtroom to witness the ceremonial procedure of cancelling a deceased’s name from the registry of active lawyers in the country.
The function attracted learned friends from Burundi, DR Congo and Uganda. The deceased’s relatives, friends as well as several other government officials, including Chief Justice Aloysia Cyanzayire and Justice Minister and Attorney General Tharcisse Karugarama, also attended the somber ceremony.
Born in Kabgayi, Muhanga District, Haguma was remembered as a ‘brave and hardworking’ lawyer whose contribution to Rwanda’s justice sector is outstanding.
“Haguma has been a cultured professional lawyer who worked tirelessly to strengthen the legal practice in Rwanda. His passion was to see a respected legal fraternity in our country,” the President of the High Court, Johnson Busingye, said.
Vincent Karangwa, the head of Kigali Bar Association, said that Haguma’s tragic death was a big loss, not only to the lawyers’ body, but also to the Rwandan and the African justice at large.
“He has been a slave of the law; he devoted his whole life to the legal profession which he served with integrity and positive attitude. We will not forget him as a person who worked tirelessly to establish Kigali Bar Association,” Karangwa said.
“Because of his hard-work and intelligence, he was the only person who managed to lead the Bar Association for two consecutive terms, and the first Rwandan lawyer to defend a suspect of Genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).”
Haguma obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Law (General, Business and International Law) from Burundi in1977. He also practiced law in Kisangani, DR Congo.