“Rule of law is the foundation for sustainable development” -President Kagame at the opening of the 2014-2015 Judicial Year
Kigali- 5 September 2014
President Paul Kagame officiated the opening of the Judicial Year 2013-2014 today at Parliament. This opening also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the justice sector reforms.
Speaking at the launch, President Kagame thanked members of the judiciary for their achievement from last judicial year but reminded them to stay focused because a lot remained to be done.
‘‘We all know that justice is an essential part of any country’s development journey. When a country upholds the rule of law, it gives the people the confidence that they are all equal before the law and that they are all equally protected. The rule of law and justice system that every Rwandan trusts goes hand in hand with good governance Rwandans have chosen,” he said.
President Kagame also warned those who may be tempted to think they are above the law, saying that no one is above the law and no one should think it is within their right to undermine the progress of every Rwandan.
The launch was also characterised by remarks from the Bar Association, the Prosecutor’s Office as well as the Chief Justice who discussed justice sector achievements over the last year.
The President of Rwanda Bar Association, Athanase Rutabingwa spoke on the capacity building initiatives that lawyers have benefited from in the last year . He said that the Bar now has over a thousand members since when it was created 17 years ago.
The Prosecutor General, Richard Muhumuza explained various measures put in place to propel justice. He spoke of the establishment of special units including Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit, International Crimes Unit, Economic and financial crimes Unit and Gender Based Violence Unit. Prosecutor Muhumuza also said that ICT is being used in expediting the process of crime preventing, tracking and information sharing, which has increased the conviction rate from 76% in 2009 to 90.6% today while decreasing illegal detentions,from 1.24% in 2007 to 0.24% today.
Chief Justice Sam Rugege presented some of the accomplishments of the sector saying that both Rwandans and international organisations have recognised the increasing performance of the justice sector.
The July 2014 Transparency International survey shows that 79% of Rwandans are satisfied with the performance of the judiciary sector in handling all cases, while a survey by Rwanda Government Board two year ago showed 74,9% on the same matter. The The Global Competitiveness Report 2013 – 2014 ranks Rwanda’s justice sector independence as 34 out of 144 surveyed countries. The same report says Rwanda justice on the 3rd place in Africa and 1st in the East Africa Community while it ranks 16 globally and 2nd in Africa in matters of efficiency in legal framework in settling disputes.