Protection of human rights is paramount in justice system to ensure that suspects and also convicts are handled with dignity and respect despite their situation.
On Thursday, Dignity in Detention (DiDe) a NGO with extensive experience in working within Rwanda’s prison to provide rehabilitative psycho-social support to detainees, organized a second edition of a consultative forum under the theme “Protecting Human Right within Rwanda’s criminal Justice system project”.
During deliberations at the forum, Nicola Bellomo, the EU Ambassador to Rwanda said, “As we take stock of the past 3 years of the project, as EU, our own assessment is very positive; the project outperformed its initial target of 300, with close to 900 vulnerable detainees at risk of abuse who have benefited from early legal assistance by lawyers.”
Bellomo noted that the EU was proud of all the work done by Rwanda Bridges to Justice together with Dignity in detention & International Bridges to justice in protecting human rights within Rwanda’s criminal justice system.
“Many people who got arrested and detained based on false accusations or lacks of evidence were released as soon as the Rwanda Bridges to Justice Lawyers intervened,” the envoy said.
According to him, “While the population of Rwanda’s prisoners remains a concern, we hope prosecutors and judges will use more the existing alternatives to imprisonment without fearing of departing from what is seen as the norm or of being accused of corruption.”
“The European Union stands with you, with the criminal justice actors and with all the Rwandan citizens. This project has proved that that if we act together, we can make a huge difference and bring positive changes in the lives of Rwandan people,” Ambassador Bellomo said.
This forum hosted at Marriot Hotel, Kigali, drew officials from Rwanda Correctional Services leadership, Rwanda Bridges to Justice among other stakeholders. This project is implemented in partnership with International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) and financed by the European Union mission in Rwanda.
According to the organisers, more than 200 lawyers, investigators from Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) , judges, prosecutors, psychologists and staff from Rwanda correctional services also benefited from capacity building workshops, enabling better implementation of national and international standards that protect individuals from torture and other abuses.