Nyanza – President Paul Kagame, yesterday, urged Legal practitioners to uphold professionalism and maintain genuine and good reputation, if they are to succeed.
The President offered the counsel at the inaugural graduation ceremony of legal practitioners at the Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD), in Nyanza district, where he was the guest of honour.
“Take it as your solemn responsibility to give your best in everything you do, to mentor other upcoming lawyers, to uphold professional ethics and morals, and to serve the Rwandan people without fear or favour,” the President said.
Kagame told the practitioners, who included lawyers, prosecutors and judges that nothing is as important as maintaining a genuine and good reputation.
“When you lose that, it becomes difficult to regain the trust of your clients, and deprives the citizens of this country, as well as a wider international clientele their right to quality justice and fairness,” the President told the one hundred graduands.
Kagame urged the graduands to look forward to a new and improved working culture saying: “You should strive for, embrace, and promote excellence in all aspects of your work – no task is too small to be done excellently.”
The graduation is the first since ILPD opened in 2008.
The institute was established to provide practical legal education to already serving professionals.
“It is my firm belief that the ILPD will have bridged the gap between the theory taught at University and practice – and has given you the tools you need to become competent legal practitioners,” he said.
President Kagame told the practitioners that graduation Day should also be one of reflection about the next step.
“As pioneers, you should regard yourselves as torchbearers of this institution and as drivers of legal change and professionalism in our country and region.”
The President, however, said that they can only do it if they have commitment to the values of honesty, humility, fairness and civility.
“This requires the genuine pursuit of the highest standards of personal conduct and professional integrity.”
The Head of State said that he was pleased to learn that the institute is planning to offer post-graduate training in comparative law, particularly common law, which will make Rwandan graduates more competitive in the region.
”It is important that, as we pursue the integration route, our trained lawyers possess the necessary skills to function and compete with neighbouring states.
I encourage you to establish networks with similar institutions in our region and in the Commonwealth so that you share experiences and good practices,” he said.
President Kagame pointed out that the Government has been, and remains committed to the rule of law and proper administration of justice.
He promised Government support to the strengthening of the Institute to build the capacity it deserves, to not only serve Rwanda, but to also be able to attract lawyers from the region.
Speaking at the ceremony the out – going Rector of ILPD, Vastina Nsanze, said that the institute plans to establish more courses on legal research and to introduce e-learning where training can easily be accessed even in remote places.
Nsanze also said that there are plans to establish a campus in Kigali to train those who cannot move to Nyanza.
In his speech, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, said that ILPD is the only one of its kind in the region because it bridges the English-speaking Eastern African and the French speaking Central Africa.
“As you are aware, Rwanda currently applies a hybrid of civil law and common law systems.
But also important national values that have been given a legal face and constitutional recognition,” he said.
Karugarama singled out Gacaca courts and Mediation Committees (Abunzi) as examples of such values that were incorporated into national legislation to provide better access to quality justice.
The President earlier commissioned a new building at the ILPD campus.