Greater efforts are needed to leverage ICT in the delivery of services in the justice sector during Covid-19, Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said.
He was speaking at the launch of Justice and Legal Aid Month on Thursday, June 24.
“Unlike in previous years, we have decided to adapt the activities of Justice and Legal Aid Week to the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic in which we are working. We have organized almost all of the events virtually, ”he said.
He noted that there is a need to reflect on the changes brought by the pandemic on the delivery of justice services, the challenges and the benefits seen.
Busingye stressed that the Covid-19 restrictions should in no way affect the collective commitment to uphold the rule of law, human rights, fair and impartial processes, effective law enforcement and assistance. legal to citizens.
“It should be noted that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, not all justice service providers have stopped providing services to the population in a timely, fair and efficient manner.
We must continue to leverage technology in service delivery during Covid-19, learn from successes, challenges and find a way forward, ”he said.
Busingye stressed that a series of events and activities to mark Justice and Legal Aid Month 2020-2021 are being organized in strict compliance with the Covid-19 pandemic control measures.
“The month also takes into account the mobilization of legal aid funds and support for those considered to face the most complex and aggravated forms of social and economic disadvantage. We all know that access to justice for all is essential in building the rule of law, ”he said.
The level of citizen satisfaction with access to justice was 85.99% in 2020 against 71.7% in 2019 and 77% in 2018, an improvement from 66.18% in 2013, according to Rwanda Governance Scorecard. .
Officials said such performance in the justice sector should be maintained and improved by taking advantage of technology.
Angeline Rutazana, the inspector general of courts, said that from March to December 2020, courts registered more than 71,000 cases.
She said that by taking advantage of the technology, 490 cases were presided over using Skype and 1,077 cases were also delivered using Skype.
She said 369 cases were presided over by videoconference while 128 cases were delivered by videoconference.
Legal Aid Forum executive director Andrews Kananga said a recent online survey on access to justice during Covid-19 found that 85% of judges’ activities were affected by Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic .
Judges, he said, and 80% of investigators and prosecutors also suggested that legal services be seen as essential services.