Crimes are on the rise in the country giving courts more work.
In the beginning of 2018-2019 judiciary year, Chief Justice Prof. Sam Rugege told the president of the Republic that 2017 year recorded more cases than 2016.
“In 2017-2018 we are ending, courts got about 63,360 cases with an increase of 10.7% (6,117). Criminal cases increased most with 65% of all the cases filed to courts,” he said.
The criminal cases are 1,083 while generally 2017 recorded 57,243 cases.
Prof. Rugege suggested that solving the problem of a big number of cases handed over to courts, “minor crimes may be resolved by means of imposing fines or mutual settlements.”
The previous judiciary year left a backlog of 24,783 cases that are still pending.
However, courts were able to deal with 73,682 cases while in 2016-2017 they had dealt with 67, 992 cases.
There were 9,344 drugs-related and defilement cases and of those, 2,728 were convicted in last three years.
According to Prof. Rugege, more than 72% are younger than 40 and the number of the youths convicted for drugs related crimes keeps increasing.
“Of them, there are six children less than 14 years of age, 1,135 are aged between 15 to 24 while 5,605 are between 25 and 39 years old,” he explained.
Prof. Rugege revealed that the number of drugs related convicts increased from 1,030 in 2016 to 4,199 in 2018.
“This crisis needs the cooperation among all public institutions and all the Rwandan society members. Urgent measures should taken to prevent some youths from seeking their problems’ solutions in drugs and engaging with the drug-addicted peers,” he said
Rwanda’s Chief Justice also said that defilement as the crime that attracted more convictions.
From 2016 to 2018, Prof. Rugege said, 2,728 culprits were convicted of defilement charges, meaning that the victims are almost that number.
“Most saddening is that most the defilement victims are young girls aged between three and 12 years old,” Rugege noted, highlighting that research revealed that defilement results in the victims being in an endless fear status, depression, loss of self confidence among many other consequences.
Rugege said drugs and child defilement remain a fearful threat to the population’s security and welfare.
Child defilement attracts between 20 and 25 years imprisonment.
Defiling a child under fourteen (14) years, the penalty is life imprisonment that cannot be mitigated by any circumstance same as defilement that results into a disability or an incurable illness for the victim.
Drug abuse and sale is punished by imprisonment not less than one year, but not more than two years or community service.
Any person who, unlawfully produces, transforms, transports, stores, gives to another or who sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances commits an offence, upon conviction, is liable to: life imprisonment and a fine of more than Rwf20 million and not more than Rwf30 million in regard to severe narcotic drugs.
As for the integrity of cases adjudicated in Rwanda, Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) revealed in the fifth Governance Scorecard (RGS) indicated that citizens trust cases handling at 85.8 % up from 78.3 in 2016-2017 while speeding up case handling is at 89.7 % up from 77.6 %.
The Global Competitiveness Report of 2018 ranked Rwanda 23rd from 25th in 2017 among 167 countries surveyed.