Rwanda: Delayed Execution of Judgements Dominate New Ombudsman Report

27 October 2020

The Ombudsman Anastase Murekezi will on Tuesday afternoon present his 2019/2020 activity report to members of both chambers of parliament, where he is among other issues expected to outline the challenges and possible solutions to the consistent challenge of delays and failures in completion of court judgements.

According to the report, a copy of which The New Times has obtained, all the cases filed during the year in review, 22 per cent are directly linked to failure or delays in completion of court judgements.

"We received 141 (22 per cent) cases of this nature. Our observation is that most Rwandans have a tendency to prefer going to court but they are not enthusiastic about the court decisions which in the end makes completion of judgements even more complicated," the report reads in part.

The report, however, shows that most Rwandans lack the means to hire court bailiffs and prefer to use local leaders and the Ombudsman's office which in turn leads to delays in completion of judgements.

He explained that these offices already have so many other responsibilities that they are pursuing on a day to day and do not prioritise the completion of judgements.

The report also indicates that most of the people who have lost cases have no means or even property that can be auctioned to pay those who have won cases.

Improvement observed

The Ombudsman pledges continued sensitisation to see that more people opt for mediation instead of rushing to courts.

This, the Ombudsman says has already started bearing fruits where for instance 99 of the 141 cases received by his office were completed through negotiations while 34 were sent to local authorities for completion while eight are still being investigated by his office.

The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has in its previous reports said that ineffective execution of court judgments is one of the key factors hampering justice in the country.

"There is a big problem when it comes to executing court rulings. Some of the court orders have been pending execution for about 10 years. They undermine reconciliation efforts and that is why we ask the Government to come up with new measures to execute court rulings," the commission's 2017/2018 report reads in part.

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