Emerging crimes like cyber-crimes and drug abuse and trafficking are among the key issues discussed at a retreat by stakeholders in the justice sector that ended Friday.
The seventh of such retreat that was held in Rubavu District under the theme; The Rwanda We Want: Reengineering our Justice System, sought to address emerging issues that undermine National Development.’
The annual peer review retreat is a unique forum that brings together different officials from the justice sector, development partners, private sector and civil society with the aim to evaluate, assess recent performances of justice service delivery and draw up possible solutions that can be key to addressing justice, reconciliation, and law and order issues.
Speaking at the retreat, the Chief Justice, Prof. Sam Rugege, called for collaboration among all the actors to fight any form of crime and, most importantly, corruption which undermines access to justice and delivery of services.
Rugege said, “we, the justice sector, know our responsibility is to fight crime, but citizens’ contribution is needed to achieve our responsibilities. This retreat is a good opportunity to put in place measures that we put first in our everyday work.”
He said, “We need to find a more sustainable solution to improve access to justice by extending mediation not only in the Abunzi (mediators) systems but even in more sophisticated cases in conventional courts,” Rugege added.
Concerning the emerging crimes, like drug abuse and trafficking, corruption, human trafficking, cyber-crimes and others which are increasingly threatening the sector, Johnston Busingye, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, said; “the future of the country we want cannot be attained without defeating emerging and existing crimes. That is why we should keep the ideal of a crime-free and zero impunity society and always be strict in fighting such crimes”
Justice and Governance
Based on people’s perceptions, according to the latest (2017) Citizen Score Card, the Justice Sector emerged the most improved sector, at 11 per cent.
However, there are still gaps in the sector, especially judiciary at 6.5 per cent, police at 10.6 per cent, Abunzi at 10.4 per cent and MAJ 4.1 per cent.
MAJ are services established by government at district level where legal officers are put in place to offer free legal assistance to citizens who cannot afford the services of lawyers.
In addition, there is still gap in the sector’s increasing backlog cases from 23.3 per cent in 2016/17 to 26.86 per cent in quarter one and to 30.78% in quarter two of 2017/18,
Prof Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), hailed the sector’s improvement in service delivery to the people.
He said, “Justice and governance complement each other. The country needs laws that can help to enhance good governance”.