EAC magistrates and judges meet to harmonize judicial system
From May 23 to 25, Rwanda is hosting the annual meeting for the East Africa Magistrates and Judges Association (EAMJA).
Under the theme “The universal jurisdiction and Africa”, the 10th conference of EAJMA will examine among other things, the causes of lack of confidence in their respective judicial systems.
“Why do our cases end up in European courts? What makes them feel that they can judge us? We have to find the answer to that”, said Sam Rugege, the chief justice of Rwanda.
Thus, Rugege suggested to delegates to establish regional standards for law schools and trainings to the people pursuing a judicial career. This would create harmony in the judicial system in the region and would provide judges and magistrates skilled enough to compete with others from the whole world.
According to Dr. Fauz Abdullah Twaib, EAMJA’s president, “East Africa is not limited to being the international law user; it has to be a producer, developer and shaper of that law because we have an obligation of integrating the rule of law within our domestic justice systems.”
Angelina Rutazana, president of Rwanda Judges and Magistrates Association, for her part said that “our region has been invaded by conflicts, thus justice is needed for the victims’ rights to be respected and for perpetrators to be accountable”.
Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi thanked the EAMJA members to have trusted Rwanda and called upon the participants to come up with practical solutions for different problems that the judicial system in the region is encountering.
”It’s our sole responsibility to strengthen governance and accountability issues which will build a confident environment in our jurisdiction systems,” Habumuremyi said, reminding participants that their duty is to create and keep an image of impartiality in redressing cases timely and fairly.
Participants in the meeting also visited Gisozi Genocide memorial. Uganda’s chief justice Benjamin Odoki said he appreciates the effort of the Rwandan government in documenting the origin of the Genocide, its effects and the post-Genocide Rwanda.
“This is a necessity for educating the future generations,” Odoki remarked, adding that the role of justice in rebuilding a nation should be to ensure that wrongs are redressed through punishments, payments or reconciliation.