Kigali, 01 September 2011
President Kagame today officially launched the Judicial Year 2011–2011 during a ceremony that took place at Parliament Buildings.
In his remarks, President Kagame commended the justice sector for achievements registered since the reforms of 2004. However, President Kagame said that despite the positive trend, the justice sector should not rest on its laurels because a lot remains to be done to achieve the ideal justice system that Rwandans need.
Questioning the credibility of Universal Jurisdiction, President Kagame asked custodians of the Rwandan law to counter attempts by some people who are hiding behind Universal Jurisdiction to advance political agendas. Pointing out the Spanish indictments against Rwandan officials, President Kagame said that the indictments were only meant to inconvenience Rwandans rather than carry out any justice as people are made to believe:
“These indictments are political because when those on the indictment list offer themselves for trial, they are rejected, yet the indictments remain in place. Universal Jurisdiction should indeed be universal and not the current situation where only some countries play judge of others while they cannot be judged yet this is called Universal Jurisdiction. How does our legal system safeguard our national sovereignty and enhance our international cooperation? Think about this seriously.”
Since the 2004 reforms, Rwanda’s justice sector has posted tremendous achievements in areas of increased number and quality of judgments, development of human resource capacity and modernization of infrastructure and equipment.
The remarkable increase in the number of judgments issued by courts and in the performance output of every single judge is attributable to the introduction of single judge systems and technological advances that are making case management very efficient.
Records indicate that compared to 2003, the number of judgments issued increased six fold in 2010. Judgments that single judges issue today stand at an average of 200 compared to the 20 judges used to issue per year.
With the continuous sensitization of judges about the need for improving the quality of judgments, today, reports indicate that only 15% of commercial court judgments and 40% of judgments issued by ordinary courts have been subject to appeal and only 7% and 9% if these judgments have been reversed respectively.