March 1, 2024

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EU-Rwanda Launch Groundbreaking Justice and Accountability Programme: A Leap Towards Sustainable Development

The new justice and accountability programme launched together with the Ministry of Justice and Justice sector actors reflects the shared commitment to advancing justice, reconciliation and human rights, laying a strong foundation for sustainable development and unity. 

The Ministry of Justice, EU Delegation to Rwanda and some key actors in the Justice sector have launched a new programme called the Justice and Accountability Programme (JAP). This programme aims at ‘Empowering Rwanda’s Justice and Reconciliation Efforts: A Milestone Towards Sustainable Development.’

Over the next four years, the JAP will be implemented under three (3) components:

Under the first component, the action will enhance the professionalism and skills of key justice sector actors. By streamlining legal aid support, the initiative will work toward universal and affordable justice for all, with a strong focus on inclusivity for vulnerable groups as well as respect for human rights.

The second component will concentrate on Reconciliation, Rehabilitation, and Unity, offering support to the Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) and civil society. Technical, vocational, education, and training (TVET) programs will empower inmates and former genocide perpetrators with essential skills, reducing recidivism upon their reintegration into society. Through this grant, civil society organisations (CSOs) will engage in socio-psychological healing and reconciliation processes at the community level to enhance resilience and unity across the country.

The third component will focus on amplifying the voice and accountability of civil society. By empowering CSOs to work closely with citizens, the programme aims to tackle issues of accountability effectively.

The Minister of Justice of Rwanda Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja said: “This program has been key to the development of the Justice sector, specifically in the access to justice. “This is a beginning of a new phase that requires a lot of work lying ahead of us.”

The European Union Ambassador to Rwanda Belen Calvo Uyarra said: “The justice and accountability programme is a testament to the enduring partnership between the European Union and Rwanda. I am honoured to witness the fruition of a programme that not only strengthens the rule of law but also lays the foundation for a more just and accountable society. Together, we stand united in our pursuit of sustainable development, resilience, and unity, amplifying the voices of the vulnerable and ensuring a brighter future for all.”

The new programme follows the signing on July 26, 2023 between the Government of Rwanda and the European Union of a Financing Agreement for a total amount of €19.5 million. The €19.5 million funding is part of the €260 million EU support package for Rwanda.  It is essential for achieving the goals within Rwanda’s Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector (JRLOS) Strategic Plan 2018-2024, focusing on improving justice delivery, inclusivity and human rights.

This effort aligns with Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) and JRLOS Strategic Plan signalling the EU’s commitment to promoting the rule of law and strengthening human rights in Rwanda. The program not only bolsters Rwanda’s strides towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) and Vision 2050 but also empowers civil society and paves the way for a more just and accountable society.

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