KIGALI - The Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Her Ladyship Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh, is in Rwanda for a four-day working visit.
The Chief Justice is here to see how commercial courts function so they can draw lessons to take back to Sierra Leone whose commercial courts are very young.
She was received by her Rwandan counterpart, Chief Justice Aloysie Cyanzayire
Speaking to the press upon arrival at Kanombe International Airport, Jalloh said that the Rwandan commercial courts have made a mark, which is the motivation of the visit.
“We heard so much about the strides Rwanda made and we thought we should come and see how far you have gone, so that when we go back and utilise what you have done to bring this country to this position,” she said.
Jalloh noted that the reason Rwanda was chosen is because the two countries have certain things in common.
“It is a way of healing our own wounds to see somebody else who has gone through the same history being able to pick up the pieces and move ahead and we would like to follow the footsteps so that our country too will be like Rwanda,” she said.
“Our commercial courts are new. They were dedicated in December last year. We would like to see someone whose courts have done something. As you know, every country that has just gotten out of conflict, tries as much to woo investors to come back, now Sierra Leone is open for investors.”
Chief Justice Aloysie Cyanzayire said that the Rwandan commercial courts will offer the Sierra Leonean delegation best practices, as well as tips to overcome the challenges that may arise.
“When people face a turbulent past, they have to use extra energy to get to where others are. This is what our two countries are doing by learning from one another,” Cyanzayire said.
According to the president of the Commercial High Court, Benoit Gakwaya Gatete, the commercial courts, were set up in 2008 and inherited a backlog of more than 33,000 cases. More than 85 percent of the cases have, so far, been cleared.
He emphasized that well-functioning commercial courts encourage investments as no investor would want to invest in a country where they cannot get justice in case of any problem.
Jalloh is the third woman Chief Justice in Africa after Rwanda and Ghana.
During the visit, Jalloh and her delegation will visit the Supreme Court and the Commercial Court in Kigali and Musanze district.
Yesterday evening the delegation visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.