Rwanda’s Justice Sector has scooped a continental public management award for its Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS).
The annual continental award, organised by African Association of Public Administration Management (AAPAM), had 51 innovative programmes from 13 countries, of which Rwanda had tabled close to 10 from different institutions.
Rwanda beat competition from Egypt, Ghana and Kenya to be declared the winner last week in Zambia, for its upgraded lawsuit filing system which was rated best innovative and efficient.
According to The New Times, the Ministry of Justice had tabled IECMS, an upgraded system of electronic filing system where people file cases and keep track of their progress using online facilities, which, according to officials, save time and money.
Officials who presented the programme before a panel of adjudicators said Rwanda had fulfilled all four criteria about innovation, relevance, significance, sustainability and replications.
Francois Regis Rukundakuvuga, Rwanda’s judiciary’s inspector-general, defended the programme before the panel of experts.
Reacting to the award, Rukundakuvuga said the jury was impressed by how far Rwanda had gone in offering such efficient service in the justice sector.
“Everything I was explaining sounded new to them, from the establishment of the programme itself to the purpose it served and the registered achievements since its inception, we ended up winning the competition,” he said.
So far 61 per cent of legal cases have been filed using the same system that was introduced late last year, mainly for city dwellers whose digital literacy is highly considered as opposed to the rest of the country.
Justice minister Johnston Busingye described the award as a landmark after two decades of long struggle to deliver timely justice to Rwandans in the aftermath of gruesome 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
“This is one of the milestones in our daily endevours, looking at where we have come from and the nature of the work we are doing, we will get many more trophies because we have already set a pace,” Busingye said.
He said justice sector did a tremendous job to ditch old fashioned way of handling cases after embracing the use of technology, which has led to significant improvement of services.
Chief Justice Sam Rugege, who received the award, commended the achievements, saying since the integration of ICT’s, the sector became more efficient and more transparent.
“The ICT usage was not for ICT sake rather to ease service delivery in the justice sector which earlier looked like they were operating in secrecy, things are now transparent and efficient,” he said.
However, Prof. Rugege added that despite the achievement, more work was still needed where respective ministries (Justice and ICT) will have to work together to connect Internet, specifically at primary and all intermediate courts, as well as ensuring safety of generated data.