Justice minister Tharcisse Karugarama has launched the Access to Justice Project in the districts of Ngoma and Kayonza.
'Equitable, functioning and accessible justice is crucial to combating poverty, promote good governance and the rule of law. It is important to have mediators, who are qualified. This is what the project will do.'
- Tharcisse KarThe three-and-a-half-year project will be supported by International Rescue Committee (IRC) at a cost of $940,000 (Rwf595 million).
Under the project, access to justice bureaus have been established in all district in the country.
While launching the project, on Thurday, Karugarama said justice is only justice when it is people-based, adding that the project would allow people to embrace and discuss issues before deciding on solutions.
"Equitable, functioning and accessible justice is crucial to combating poverty, promote good governance and the rule of law. It is important to have mediators, who are qualified. This is what the project will do; train them thoroughly," he said.
Karugarama said the idea was to decentralise justice and make it affordable and accessible by every resident of Rwanda.
"With the project, we will achieve sustainable governance. We will not see genocide again because all Rwandans are going to be experts in matters pertaining to justice," the minister said.
Equipped to serve
Facilitating staff in the two districts were equipped with motorcycles, computers and other materials to facilitate their activities such as mobility to communities.
Richard Crothers, the IRC Rwanda and Burundi Country Director, said the project would take responsibilities of sensitising communities, particularly vulnerable groups, on legal frame work, their rights and accessing justice.
"The project will build capacities of MAJ staff, mediators and security agents through trainings and mentorship," he said.
Jean Nepomuscene Mubirigi, the chairperson of mediators (Abunzi) in Rukumberi sector, said the project was timely, adding that rural communities would benefit tremendously from it.
"We are happy that the project includes a lot of training. We expect to gain more skills and knowledge about justice. It is this new development that makes us feel that we will be able to execute our duties as mediators in communities with more confidence," he said.
Founded in 1933 by the Netherlands, IRC started operating in Rwanda in 1994.