Rwanda, EU Launch €19.5M Justice & Accountability Program

Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, the Minister of Justice and EU Ambassador Belén Calvo Uyarra during the launch of an innovative programme on Monday, January 29

The Justice and Accountability Programme (JAP), a collaborative initiative between the Government of Rwanda and the European Union (EU), was officially launched through the Ministry of Justice (MINIJUST), marking a significant step towards sustainable development. With a substantial budget of €19.5 million (approximately Rwf 26.7 trillion) over four years, the program was inaugurated on January 29.

EU Ambassador Belén Calvo Uyarra underscored the program’s importance in Rwanda’s post-1994 Genocide against the Tutsi journey. Structured with three primary components, the first component prioritizes professionalism and skill enhancement, targeting key stakeholders such as MINIJUST, the Judiciary, National Prosecution Authority (NPPA), Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Rwanda National Police (RNP), and the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR). Its objectives include improving timely justice delivery, reducing case backlogs, modernizing the justice system, and enhancing access to quality justice, with special attention to universal and affordable legal aid for vulnerable groups and human rights.

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The second component focuses on reconciliation, rehabilitation, and unity, extending support to the Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) and civil society. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs will equip inmates and former genocide perpetrators with essential skills for successful reintegration into society. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will engage in socio-psychological healing and reconciliation processes at the community level to foster resilience and unity.

The third component seeks to amplify civil society’s voice and accountability by empowering CSOs to collaborate closely with citizens, effectively addressing issues of accountability.

The financing agreement for the program, totaling €19.5 million, was signed on July 26, 2023, between the Government of Rwanda and the EU.

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Minister of Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja emphasized the program’s positive impact on the justice sector, acknowledging the EU’s pivotal partnership role. He cited previous EU support achievements, including the implementation of the Alternative Dispute Resolution policy and contributions to the development of criminal justice policies. Ugirashebuja concluded by affirming the program’s significance as a milestone in the justice sector, expressing confidence that it will fund existing programs and positively impact citizens.

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