Rwanda’s deputy Chief Justice, Prof Sam Rugege, yesterday, disclosed that the judicial reforms that are have been implemented since 2004 are bearing fruit, with the Justice system now witnessing commendable progress.
Rugege made the remarks during a town hall meeting, yesterday, that was broadcast live on public television and radio.
Since, 2004, 247,000 cases have been filed, which overwhelmed the judges, but with the reforms, more than 200,000 have been concluded, Rugege said.
He, however, added that some of the cases filed in the courts can be solved through unconventional means to bring down the rapidly increasing number of cases which is the major bottlenecks in the effecting justice.
“Cases are now unnecessarily multiplying in courts. The sad thing is that people skip the lower and the higher instance courts to file their grievances in the high court which increases the burden on the system.”
He underscored that cases such as family issues would better be addressed by local leaders prior to going to the courts.
Rugege added that the capacity of court staff has been boosted with various on-the-job training programs in place to enhance and ensure professionalism.
“Before 2004, only 74 judges had bachelor’s degree in law out of 702. This number has since been raised to 281. We train our judges before they begin to practice while others are sponsored for study tours,” Rugenge said.
The use of technology is being promoted with archives of case proceedings being stored electronically.
Cases can also be filed online while video conferencing has been introduced to enable court proceeding to go on without having the concerned parties physically in the court rooms.
The Deputy Prosecutor General, Alphonse Hitiyaremye, also underscored the need to boost certain areas like the need to use DNA evidence in courts especially sexual violence cases.