Strengthening the capacity of prosecutors, judges and lawyers in Rwanda in international criminal law is both important and timely. Over two decades after Rwanda’s genocide, the number of cases extradited and transferred from other countries to Rwanda continues to increase. Given that international criminal law is a complex and evolving field, prosecutors who appear in Transfer cases would benefit from skills allowing them to more accurately and effectively research and apply the latest judicial precedents.
Since the genocide of 1994, where approximately one million people perished, Rwanda has made tremendous progress in many areas of social welfare. The country is one of the most noted examples, both globally and on the African continent, of fast economic growth and successful post-war reconstruction. Significant development successes over the last decade include high economic growth, rapid poverty reduction and, since 2005, reduced inequality. In addition to this, the country strives for strong political stability, as reflected in the adoption of a new Constitution in 2003. Rwanda is also known for having the highest female representation in Parliament compared to any other nation, with 64% of women in the Lower House.
IDLO is supporting the country’s progress by implementing a project aiming to strengthen the capacity of Rwandan defense lawyers in international criminal law, in order to provide them with stronger support for dealing with genocide court cases.
IDLO welcomed the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, and the former President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Erik Møse, to its training program in Kigali for an interactive exchange with 45 Rwandan judges on the particularities of adjudicating complex international criminal law trials.
Transfer cases dealing with the Rwandan genocide have been adjudicated in Rwanda since 2012, and the number of cases extradited from other countries continues to increase. The procedure in transfer cases is guided in significant part by the practice and substantive precedents set by international tribunals and international criminal jurisprudence. However, international criminal law is a complex and evolving field, and it is critical that Rwandan judges know how to research and apply the latest judicial precedents correctly and effectively.
IDLO has signed a memorandum of understanding with the East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental organization composed of six countries in eastern Africa – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Chief Justices of Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda (partner states of the East African Community) as well as the Chief Justice of Zanzibar, the Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, and the Chief Justice of Somalia in an observer role, pledged to enhance collaboration, agree strategies to improve access to jus
“I come from Bangladesh, a country which also has enormous problems about the denial of justice, and about efforts and the measures that are being taken to strengthen people’s capacity to access justice. But, it was here in Africa, that I learned what it can mean, in real terms, for the people. And I will tell you now the story of Rosie.”
22 years after Rwanda’s genocide, suspects remain at large and exiled in different countries around the world. Ensuring that they are brought to justice on national soil is a major priority for the Government of Rwanda. As a result of the progress made in recent years in implementing reforms and modernizing the Rwandan justice sector, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda transferred cases to be tried under Rwandan jurisdiction.