Legal practitioners from Rwanda and different African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Gambia and South Sudan, among others on Friday graduated from the Institute of Legal Practice Development (ILPD) in a ceremony held at its headquarters in Nyanza District.
In total, 458 walked away with diplomas in legal practice after an intensive six-months training programme in legal practice and legislative drafting.
Theophile Guatien Nsigbe, a DRC national who was among the graduates told The New Times that the training had equipped him with more practical skills which is different from the theories he had studied during his university education back home.
"I was impressed by the practical skills provided by both judges and lawyers. I am going to leave with a complete package of legal practice reality that I can share back home.
"The best thing I am looking forward to sharing with my colleagues is practical experience. I learned that Rwanda's justice system has advanced in the digitalization of laws, which is not the case in our country. That is something I can share, too," he said.
The Rector of ILPD; Dr. Didas Kayihura, said that the country's progressive reputation has increasingly influenced more African students to join the institute looking for excellence in legal practice and drafting so that they can contribute in improving their respective countries' justice systems.
"We are humbled to see people showing interest in learning from what we have achieved in a few years, including our justice system. It is our pride to see more people from other African countries coming to learn from Rwanda's legal practice system. They do not come here by accident and we are proud of that," he said.
"Our wish is not to see or hear our graduates being arrested over corruption or other unprofessional behavior, but rather to see them be exemplary in what they do," he said.
The Minister of Justice; Johnston Busingye, called on the graduates to put what they studied into practice and avoid temptations that inhibit the sector that might destroy their career.
"Many of you will leave here and join the world of the law. Always be aware that there will be situations you have not mastered. Stick to a set of values and work on your values.
"Those who will become judges, your decisions will obviously not always please all your litigants, but that is fine as long as they are just and fair, just like you, lawyers, who, in every situation, will just provide the truth, whether it is in line with the wishes of the one you are advising is immaterial," he advised.
Over the last 10 years, the institute has trained over 1900 professionals from the justice sector, including lawyers, judges, prosecutors and court bailiffs among others.
The institute is also working on weaning itself off government fund dependency to self-reliance where 80 per cent of its budget comes from internally generated revenues and support from its stakeholders.