KIGALI - The Spokesperson of Courts, Charles Kaliwabo, has announced that courts across the country will try 85 corruption-related cases in a period of one week, as a way of marking the anti-corruption week that started yesterday.
The campaign is aimed at making the courtroom ‘a corruption free square’.
Addressing the press yesterday, Chief Justice, Aloysia Cyanzaire, said that the one week campaign will focus more on sensitization and town hall meetings to address corruption within the judiciary.
“The justice sector is very prone to corruption which is why we are drawing all measures possible to protect it. We also want to change the public perception of assuming that if someone loses a case, then the judge was corrupted,” Cyanzaire said.
“We need to have all these corruption cases reported before the bribes are given out since it’s hard to arrest corruption when it has already taken place.”
Cyanzaire, who is also the head of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, added that in the last three years, five judicial officials have been charged with corruption while 15 people were arrested for attempting to bribe judges.
Since 2008, the judiciary has so far tried 1,103 cases of corruption.
In a related development, Cyanzayire refuted claims that the Rwandan judiciary is not independent saying that there is no case where a judge has been influenced to make a particular ruling.
“I have never instructed or requested any judge to pass a ruling contrary to his or her instincts; all the years I have been the Chief Justice of Rwanda, nobody has ever ordered me or requested me to pass a ruling contrary to the judge’s decision,” she said.
The chief justice also gave the current status of the cases in courts saying that the courts handle over 50,000 cases annually, and that there are about 5,000 cases before the High Court.
“The Supreme Court handles over 1000 cases annually; the reason behind the big number of cases we are getting is because people have started developing trust in the judicial system,” said Cyanzaire.