Rwanda: ICT-Backed Systems Will Help Address Misconduct in Justice Sector - Busingye

1 December 2020

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye has urged professional court bailiffs to steer clear of judicial misconduct, warning that sophisticated online systems that the sector has deployed in recent years will help weed out corrupt officers.

He made the remarks Tuesday during the swearing-in of 25 professional court bailiffs and 14 private notaries at Gasabo District headquarters in the capital Kigali.

The new practitioners include seven female court bailiffs and five female private notaries.

Professional bailiffs are charged with executing court judgements.

Some of the most prevalent forms of misconduct involving bailiffs include overvaluation and undervaluation of property - as a result of bribery - during property auctions.

Busingye, who's also the country's Attorney General, underlined the need for all judicial officers to embrace technology.

"Using technology to execute judgements is the only option you have. If any of you is not ready for that, I advise them to step down before you even assume duties," he said.

The minister added that many professional court bailiffs have been trained in the use of ICT in administering justice, urging the newly sworn-in professionals to develop keen interest in the process.

Since the law on professional bailiffs was first gazetted in 2013, 37 professional bailiffs have been expelled while others were jailed or suspended for gross misconduct.

Yet the minister sounded optimistic that technology will help address misconduct among judicial officers. "The tech-system will help detect any gross misconduct. Once anyone is suspected, the system will deactivate the bailiff in question until the issue has been dealt with."

He also urged private notaries to serve unreservedly.

Antoine Sebera Nyonga, the president of the Professional Bailiffs Association, echoed the minister, calling on the new members to be diligent in their new role and serve above self.

"This profession calls for full understanding of the law," he noted.

The country has a total of 166 private notaries and 3,143 court bailiffs - of whom 516 are professional court bailiffs while 2,147 fall in the category of unprofessional bailiffs. Unprofessional bailiffs are mostly grassroots leaders who are tasked to enforce court rulings.

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