Visiting law students from Tumaine University, Tanzania, yesterday, met with the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, with whom they discussed the judicial evolution in the post-Genocide Rwanda.
The Tanzanian students are in Rwanda on a five-day study tour.
Karugarama highlighted some of the legal challenges that Rwanda faced in the aftermath of the Genocide, including the influx of genocide suspects, a shortage of judges, prosecutors and lawyers.
He explained the various reforms and other initiatives the country embarked on to overcome these challenges, notable among them, the Gacaca courts.
“We introduced in our judicial system, the best practices of the Common Law and trained citizens to take charge of their own justice. Also through the Gacaca system, over 1.5 million genocide-related cases have been tried,” Karugarama said.
The minister added that the country’s legal system is where it is today because of combined efforts by both the government and the local communities.
In an interview with The New Times, one of the visiting students, John Lungusha, said that he was impressed by the reforms and the existing legal system in Rwanda, and how it has evolved despite the effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We heard a lot about Rwanda’s great reforms. We are here to see for ourselves, learn about what challenges it has faced in the legal sector during the post-Genocide era, and how they have dealt with them,” Mpoki Mwakagali, a faculty member accompanying the students, said.
The students are expected to meet with the head of Gacaca courts, the Prosecutor General, and the Executive Secretary of TIG to learn more about the country’s judiciary.