The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Interview - Empower African Court As Alternative to ICC - Rugege

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interview

Nevertheless, we have tried to improve the conditions of judges and the salaries have drastically increased, with the lowest paid getting over Rwf200, 000 up from 40,000 in the immediate aftermath of the 1994 Genocide.

There is a perception that the Judiciary in this country is not independent, what do you have to say about that?

These are allegations from some international organisations; such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the like.And given their general attitude towards Rwanda, I am not surprised that they look at our Judiciary in that light. I am satisfied that our Judiciary is independent and and we have not had any threat with regard to that independence.This is also reaffirmed by other courts, some of them international in nature, which are now sending Genocide fugitives to stand trial in Rwanda.

You know that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had for long refused to send suspects for trial in Rwanda but, since 2011, they decided that our Judiciary is independent and can handle these cases.

The European Court of Human and People's Rights has also ruled that Rwandan courts are independent and can offer a fair trial. Other courts in The Netherlands, Canada and elsewhere have also adjudged the judiciary here to offer fair trial.

Another example is the Global Competitiveness Report, by a well-respected international rating agency; that rates Rwanda very highly in terms of independence of the Judiciary. Last year Rwanda was ranked number 25 globally well ahead of countries with more mature legal systems.

So we cannot dwell on the attacks of Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch because they are not founded on any evidence.

There are several Genocide suspects detained in different countries around the world. Some of these countries have refused to extradite suspects for trial in Rwanda, preferring to try them, what is your take on that?

I do not have any problem with suspects being tried in host countries. My personal view is that these fugitives should face justice, where they are tried does not really matter. I would, of course, prefer that they are tried here where they committed the crimes because then justice will not only be done but also seen to be done.

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