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Rwanda Makes A Step Further In Legal Mediation System

by Daniel Sabiiti
12:06 pm

Rwanda’s Chief Justice Faustin Nteziryayo

The Rwandan judiciary has made a step further in legal mediation as a simpler process of alternative dispute resolution.

New achievements will be enabled by the recent establishment of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) policy by the government of Rwanda aimed at reinforcing the judiciary to encourage court-annexed mediation.

ADR is any procedure, agreed to by the parties in a dispute, in which they use the services of a neutral party to assist them in reaching an agreement and avoiding litigation in court.

Current statistics show that mediation in court has incredibly contributed to the vision of the Judiciary of Rwanda.

Between 2019-2022, approximately 3,000 cases were settled through mediation of which barely ten per cent had a monetary value of Rwf11.1 billion.

Faustin Ntezilyayo, Rwanda’s Chief Justice said that this shows how mediation in court doesn’t only facilitate day-to-day responsibilities as judiciary but also have a big impact on the economy.

The President of Rwanda Bar Association (RBA) Moise Nkundabarashi said that the use of mediation as a process of conflict resolution by professional judicial members is relatively new to Rwanda and has met resistance and more sensitization needed.

“We are therefore at the stage of raising awareness and building the capacity of these professionals to make sure that mediation becomes part and parcel of our jurisdiction dispute resolution mechanism,” Nkundabarashi said.

Though lawyers play a key role in the justice system, the delay in the process of using ADR is underlined by many factors including lack of skills, information on the process, and lack of financial benefits as there is no specific amount legally allocated in the contracts signed with parties.

Senior lawyers say that mediation is new and is yet to attract lawyers who haven’t yet found its benefits as in take home.

Senior Counsel Emmanuel Butare stated that through training, lawyers will know how to litigate and make mediation another source of income.

Prof. Sam Rugenge, President of the Court Annexed Advisory Committee suggested the judiciary conducts the shift process in phases starting with the commercial and family court matters to allow people to get used to the new system instead of overhauling the whole judicial sector.

UK based Commercial Mediator, Bruce Edwards, the Head of Edwards Mediation Academy said that Rwanda is on the right track and mediation is the way to go considering the judicial success story seen today.

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