Rwanda’s legal system unique – Prof Rugege

The Deputy Chief Justice, Prof Sam Rugege, has said that Rwanda is dedicated to developing its own legal system compatible with the nature of the problems the country faces, rather than dwelling primarily on other systems. Rugege said this yesterday at the opening of a conference on civil procedure in Common Law, targeting legal practitioners, which was organised by the Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD).

The Deputy Chief Justice, Prof Sam Rugege, has said that Rwanda is dedicated to developing its own legal system compatible with the nature of the problems the country faces, rather than dwelling primarily on other systems.

Rugege said this yesterday at the opening of a conference on civil procedure in Common Law, targeting legal practitioners, which was organised by the Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD).

Stating Rwanda’s desire to have a hybrid legal system, Rugege said: “We are not married to any legal system. What we do is look around for best practices from other systems and integrate them to come up with our own”.

He added that Common Law is widely used in business litigations, which is why it has to be considered since Rwanda has opened to global business.

The country predominantly uses the Civil legal system, but has lately been trying to adopt some aspects from the Common Law in its system and a number of laws including the Commercial Law are in that genre.

Commenting on the progress that the Rwandan judiciary has achieved, Rugege said that it began from scratch after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, but a lot has been done since then.

“The courts were being used as an extension of the executive and that meant that we had to build the judiciary from zero. But we are now happy with the progress so far attained.”

He however, pointed out that the journey is still long for the young sector, adding that they still lack material resources like books to build the capacity the judges.

According to Prof. Nick Johnson, the Rector of ILPD, in borrowing a leaf from other legal systems, there was  need know the dangers that go with it.

“All laws are as a result of their social, political and cultural environment. There are dangers that go with bringing different systems into one hybrid system without caution. Don’t transplant without thinking about the local environment,” advised Johnson.

Ends

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