MUHANGA – Gacaca judges in Gitarama have reaffirmed their commitment to fight corruption in order to restore their seemingly tainted image.
The 328 judges made the vow on February 10, at a function called to release a report of the 1994 killings at the Kabgayi Catholic Diocese.
The function was held at Muhanga cultural center and attended by Domitila Mukantaganzwa, the Executive Secretary of Gacaca jurisdictions.
Their remarks followed Mukantaganzwa’s speech in which she said Gacaca courts and judges have been cited among some corrupt local officials.
The judges acknowledged that the reputation of Gacaca courts has been tainted by some wayward elements among them, who were involved in bribery and corruption scandals. But she reiterated that they were ready to restore their tainted image.
“There is need to change this reputation as the mandate of Gacaca courts comes to an end this March. All judges should be able to mirror integrity and bring justice to the victims of genocide during trials,” one judge said.
Mukantaganzwa, remarked that the work of Gacaca judges has been recognised worldwide and her new appointment, on the African peer review mechanism is a credit to all judges who uphold their professional ethics.
Mukantaganzwa also urged the judges to handle the last category of cases according to the set Gacaca regulations.
Meanwhile, the Gacaca boss said that the national Gacaca jurisdiction has set aside funds to take care of judges’ health insurance and to start a saving cooperatives for them.
The national Gacaca jurisdiction has paid Rwf10.000 for each of the members as initial savings, she revealed.
During the meeting, the judges appealed to the government to consider extending the deadline for the remaining cases to beyond March, saying they needed ample time to successfully dispose of the cases.
To this end, Mukantaganzwa explained that officially the courts will close business in March, although other exceptional cases could continue to be heard.