President Paul Kagame has said that he appreciates the court mediation advisory committee, which was established recently, describing it as another solution in the justice sector.
He was speaking on Monday, September 7, as he virtually launched the Judicial Year 2020/2021.
The committee of this alternative dispute resolution system is chaired by former Chief Justice, Prof. Sam Rugege.
“We wish that Rwandans further embrace the use of this approach of resolving disputes and conflicts through mediation. This will reduce the backlogs of cases as well as new cases filed in courts,” Kagame said.
He said that, in any case, there is a need to ensure that people get justice in a trustworthy way.
Chief Justice, Faustin Ntezilyayo, said that in the Judicial Year 2019/2020, more than 76,300 cases were tried, an increase of 5 per cent compared to the year before.
However, courts are grappling with a backlog of 52,950 cases.
Of those, the Chief Justice said, more than 25,350 cases filed in 2019/20 have been pending for over six months compared to 13,000 in the previous year.
The rise in the backlog is attributed to the Covid-19 outbreak, which halted court business.
In a bid to expedite the resolution of disputes, the Chief Justice said,litigants have been encouraged to opt for pretrial conference and mediation.
“It has been realised that people who seek services in courts have started understanding the role of settling cases amicably because cases that were solved during pretrial conferences increased to 6 per cent last year from 3 per cent in the previous year, while 897 cases were handled through mediation,” he said.
The Committee is mandated to provide advice and inspect the use of mediation in cases filed to courts.