RW3Kituo cha Sheria was represented at the Kigali Conference on Collaboration for Access to Justice held from the 22nd – 24th August, 2017 at the Park Inn by Radisson in Kigali, Rwanda.

The three-day continental conference on collaboration between the Judiciary and community justice institutions drew participants from more than 15 countries across Africa.

The main theme for the conference was derived from the vision of a three-fold transformation of Practice, Policy and Perceptions in Judiciary and Community Justice Institutions (CJI) collaboration.

The Conference’s main aim was to influence attitudes and behaviors across the entire value-chain of justice delivery from the community to the highest courts of the land in order to foster greater synergy, mutual support and collaboration.

The Formal Judiciary System and Community Justice Institutions (CJI) are two complementary systems working towards a common goal, which is “access to justice” and judicial officials from the different African countries called for ways to harmonize formal justice with community justice systems in order to ease access to justice.

Kituo was represented by the Executive Director Ms. Gertrude Angote and Programme Manager Faith Ochieng’. The Executive Director moderated a session on “The case for strengthening collaboration between the Judiciary and Community Justice Institutions” majoring on performance management, impact and results. Speaking at the conference; Ms. Angote said that community justice is about two essential things- partnerships and problem-solving. “No single organization can solve community problems without investing significant time and energy in engaging the community”, she said.

Chief Justices Abdulai Charm (Sierra Leone); Mogoeng Mogoeng (South Africa), Prof. Sam Rugege (Rwanda) and Judge Luka Kimaru (Kenya) included some of the guests at the Conference that brought together senior judges, lawyers, paralegals and academics. Sierra Leone, Malawi, Rwanda and Kenya were cited as some of the countries where indigenous knowledge has been applied and approaches been successful in promoting access to Justice.

The Kigali Conference also saw the launch of the African Centre of Excellence (ACE) for Access to Justice that will facilitate comparative learning for primarily African legal empowerment programmes as well as international programmes and grow a community of best-practice. ACEAJ will be a place to promote best practices for paralegals across Africa. At the end of the conference participants took time to go and visit the Rwanda Genocide Memorial in Kigali.

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