How Rwanda’s Judicial sector is coping up with the pandemic

Since the pandemic broke out in the early March 2020, businesses have been adjusting to embrace E-commerce and so the judicial sector had to expand it’s online services to to several areas within the sector.

For the first time, the launch of the Justice and Legal Aid week was held virtually.

Speaking at the Judicial month launch, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye advised judicial practitioners to remain vigilant and innovative as the pandemic surges.

“It’s worthy thanking people did not stop providing service during lockdown instead there was innovations that kept the services moving and this should continue” Minister Busingye said.

The Minister stressed that “it is of paramount importance to remain dedicated and serve with continuity in online service to achieve the desired tasks,”

He hailed the technological systems and platforms used in filling cases of IECSM which acted as an enabler for litigants to file cases.

The level of the citizen’s satisfaction with access to justice was over 85 per cent in 2020 from 71 per cent in 2019 and 77 per cent in 2018, an improvement from 66 per cent in 2013, according to the Rwanda Governance Scorecard.

The judicial statistics indicate that from March to December 2020, the courts registered over 71,000 cases of which 490 cases were presided over using skype and  over 1,000 cases were also pronounced using skype and 369 cases were presided over by use of video conference while 128 cases were pronounced using video conference.

Tom Mulisa, a human rights activists, and Executive Director, GLIHD, an organization that advocates for the rights of the vulnerable persons believes Covid-19 is a challenge to humanity across all sectors.

However, Mulisa says that through institutional collaboration solution can be foresighted and become handled in the future.

Challenges

Col. Jeanot Ruhunga, Secretary General at the Rwanda Investigation Bureau asserts that cybercrimes have increased during Covid-19.

“Criminals have transited to cybercrimes which requires sophiscated technological solutions,” he commented.

Infrastructure and functional technology is so far the major factor challenging the dispensing of justice at difficult times of Covid-19 as some litigants remain reluctant to embrace the IT according to the legal practitioners.

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