NYANZA- The International Justice Mission (IJM) has announced its commitment to support the Rwandan justice system in developing a mechanism to protect children against abuse.
Lane Mears, the IJM country director, made the remarks during the opening of a three-day training of judges, prosecutors and police officials on handling of child assault cases.
The three-day training was officially opened by Nick Johnson, the Rector of Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD) and attended by 40 judges and prosecutors from around the country.
Mears said that “the more abusers are held responsible and accountable by the law, the lesser the crimes of child abuse.”
According to Mears, Rwanda has made progress in establishing child protection laws. However, there was need to build the capacity of judges and prosecutors to investigate and handle such cases.
The participants noted that most cases of child abuse have been covered, pointing out the need to increase education and sensitisation of families and communities to speak out and fight such crimes.
Yves Ntagara, a prosecutor from Gasabo District, said people conceal cases of child abuse due to cultural factors and fear.
The trainees also acknowledged that most children in Rwanda lack legal assistance and representation during the trial of child abuse cases.
The training will focus on how to investigate and prosecute cases of child sexual assault, forensic interviewing of children who allege abuse, and understanding of medical evidence and interrogation of suspects.