President Paul Kagame on Friday urged the incoming top leaders of the judiciary to uphold the rule of law in the interest of the citizens and the country, adding that it would contribute to the country's transformation.
He was officiating the swearing-in of the new Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, Prosecutor General, Deputy Prosecutor General, and the vice president of the Commercial High Court at the Parliamentary Buildings.
The new leaders are Faustin Ntezilyayo, who was earlier this week appointed as Chief Justice, replacing Sam Rugege who is retiring after his 11-year tenure. His deputy is Marie-Thérèse Mukamulisa, who replaced Zainabo Sylvie Kayitesi.
Aimable Havugiyaremye was sworn-in as the new Prosecutor General, while Anqélique Habyarimana was sworn-in as the Deputy Prosecutor General.
Valens Nkurunziza was sworn-in as the incoming Vice President of the Commercial High Court.
Kagame commended the outgoing leaders, saying that they fulfilled their responsibilities in national interest and in the interest of the people.
NEW BLOOD: Chief Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo and Deputy Chief Justice Marie-Thérèse Mukamulisa.Photos: Village Urugwiro.
"Those replacing them have a good foundation to build on and take the judicial sector to another level," he said.
"As we know it, justice is based on respect of law. We may have good laws, but what matters is how those laws serve the people," he added.
The Head of State highlighted that justice is driven by how much people trust the system, something he asked the new leaders to always bear in mind as they embark on their new tasks.
"Justice is largely based on trust people place in judges. That trust is also based on honesty, discernment and fair adjudication, which is what judges should uphold while undertaking their judicial responsibilities," he noted.
"Justice should also support our national transformation. This gives confidence to those who want to take part in development activities," he added.
Kagame stated that the country was on the right track, but that there was a lot of work that remains to be done.
He called on members of the judiciary to address the existing shortfalls in the judicial system, including corruption.
"We must fight corruption to prevent it from becoming a culture. When it becomes a culture in the judicial system, it becomes a culture in the whole country. This is not what we stand for," he said.
The President insisted that those found to be culprits of corruption must strongly be held accountable and be punished adequately.
He also pledged support to the new Chief Justice and his team to fulfil the duties that they pledged to uphold.
Prior to his appointment, Ntezilyayo was a judge at the East African Court of Justice and also worked as a lecturer at the University of Rwanda.
He has also previously served as Minister of Justice.