Kigali, 17 June 2012
President Kagame has said that at the level of the continent, Africa should put in place a mechanism that should be able to dispense justice for Africans. While meeting with members of the East African Law Society Council, President Kagame said that as far as possible, issues of justice in African states should be handled by citizens of those nations themselves, under the existing national jurisdictions.
“Africans have the capacity to organize themselves and dispense justice for their people because it is dangerous to place the fate of African in the hands of foreign jurisdictions. There should be a mechanism that should be referred to where national jurisdictions have not been up to their task. There should be a level in between at a continental level that should be able to assess, analyse and sieve through issues and see whether it can be sorted right there or at an international level”.
On the issue of the Kenyan election violence cases that are being undertaken by the International Criminal Court, President Kagame said that the responsibility for justice at first instance lies with Kenyans themselves and other East Africans can only offer support where necessary.
“Before calling on people from far away to come and help us, we should be able to organize and sort ourselves out because we have more than enough capacities amongst ourselves.” Speaking to the press after the meeting, Dr. Wilbert Kapinga, the President of the East African Law Society said:
“We commended the President and the people of Rwanda upon Rwanda’s signing of the declaration granting its citizens audience before the African Court of Human and People’s Right. We also discussed with the President issues to do with creation of a system that could deal with problems like the ones that happened in Kenya in 2007, a system that can be able to address problems locally before tending to international solutions. We took a leaf from the Gacaca courts in Rwanda that we able to provide justice to Rwandans locally. It is not lost on Kenyans to start a local tribunal to solve their problems.”
The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama said:
“The meeting between the President and the East African Law Society Council was interactive and fruitful debate on key issues to do with justice in the region and the continent. The President made it clear that the first line of action should be for the citizens of a given African country to hold their leaders accountable through their national legislations.”
The East African Law Society which has about 10,000 members within the East African Community member States has been holding its Governing Council meeting in Kigali since June 14.