President Paul Kagame, yesterday said that the country’s judiciary has undergone major reforms, that have helped instill public trust and confidence in the justice system.
The Head of State made the remarks during the swearing-in ceremony of the new Chief Justice, Prof. Sam Rugege and his deputy, Sylvie Zainabo Kayitesi, at Parliament Buildings, Kimihurura.
Kagame commended the outgoing Chief Justice, Aloysea Cyanzaire, and her successor, who was her deputy, for overseeing the transformation of the justice sector to a level where Rwandans are able to file their cases online.
He noted that the judiciary has come a long way, in just a short time, and particularly mentioned the use of ICT to file cases, which has greatly reduced bureaucracy that earlier characterised the courts,besides saving time and resources.
The President noted that all judges have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, which has helped improve the efficiency of courts, and that a big percentage of case backlogs had been cleared.
He urged the incoming team to focus on consolidating the gains made and deliver much more.
The President underlined that the Supreme Court also has the responsibility to represent the country’s judicial interests beyond the borders.
In an interview with The New Times, Rugege said: “I was humbled by the confidence the President and his advisors have in me. I can give assurances that I will meet the public’s expectations.... We worked as a team to develop the sector and we will continue from where we are”.
In particular, he said more focus will be on increasing the capacity of the judicial personnel, further reducing case backlogs, as well as strengthening judicial institutions.
Rugege studied law at Uganda’s Makerere University, and later joined the prestigious Yale University in the US, where he obtained a Masters of law, before joining Oxford University in the UK to pursue a doctorate in law.
Prior to returning home in 2004, Prof. Rugege taught in a number of universities, including Makerere, University of Swaziland, University of Lesotho and University of Western Cape, South Africa.