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Rwandan court judgements lag in implementation, study finds

This article originally appeared on AllAfrica.com

A study conducted by the Legal Aid Forum (LAF) in Rwanda, has indicated that enforcement of court judgments is still a problem and the implementation rated low despite the judicial reforms.

The study indicates that among the many cases surveyed, claimants have to wait longer than the legal 3 months for enforcement of their judgments, and many enforcement agents are not sufficiently competent to play their role.

Forty (40%) percent of claimants interviewed had their judgments fully executed, 15 per cent had achieved partial enforcement and 45 were still waiting after more than three months, according to the research, conducted between September 2011 and February 2012.

While reacting to the findings, The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama said that to some extent, the findings were correct but the study did no segregate the specific areas where the enforcement of judgments is low.

He however stated that there is still a room for improvement, since the justice sector had over the years, greatly improved compared to other countries in the region.

Rwanda has decentralized the justice system with mediators posted at grass roots levels, justice access houses commonly known as maison de access de la Justice (MAJ) in French acronym and professional lawyers at the district levels- as a way of ensuring that citizens access universal quality justice.

However, Andrews Kananga, the Executive Secretary of LAF, said that the execution of a final court judgment is the last step towards attaining justice for all claimants and delayed justice can affect the process of improving the justice sector.

Kananga said that Legal Aid forum will collaborate with the government to ensure that the challenges highlighted in the report are adequately addressed and the justice sector improved according to the country vision.

June 13, 2012 | Abigail Moy