On June 11-13, the Government of Rwanda hosting the International Conference on the Role of Case Management Systems for Justice System Integration, Performance, and Country Development. The three-day event took place in Kigali and was organized by the Rwandan Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of ICT & Renovation, and Synergy International Systems, Inc.
Over 150 participants – delegations representing the justice sectors of Bangladesh, Benin, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda, East African Court and Comesa, as well as representatives of international development agencies – were attending the conference.
The conference showcased the Rwanda IECMS (Integrated Electronic Case Management System) – developed by Synergy – and demonstrated how electronic case management systems can contribute to the development of countries, specifically through achieving transparency, accountability, and equality before law.
The conference is offering a platform for exchanging knowledge and best practices on the implementation of IECMS and the role it plays in improving access to justice.
“Rwanda has been at the forefront of the digital revolution in Africa. One of our achievements is the IECMS which was introduced in Jan 2016 to improve access to justice. The Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Ministry of ICT & Innovation and Synergy International Systems, Inc, decided to convene this important conference with the view of sharing our experience and best practices on the successful implementation of Rwanda IECMS. I look forward to the conference and I wish you a pleasant stay in our beautiful country,” said Rwandan Minister of State Mr. Evode Uwizeyimana in his welcome remarks during the opening ceremony of the conference.
In his speech, the Rwandan Chief Justice Hon. Prof. Sam Rugege stated that Rwanda IECMS has substantially reduced the interaction of litigants and court officials, thus contributing to the fight against corruption. Moreover, he emphasized the ways Rwanda IECMS is affecting the country’s performance and development and how those factors, in their turn, create an environment of improved efficiency, timeliness, and quality of justice and are important in attracting investors. “Today, with IECMS, we boast electronic access to court processes,” said Hon. Prof. Rugege, adding “The cost and time spent on cases has been considerably reduced. Even the process of writing judgement has been made easier with most information like police records, witness statements, pleadings, records of proceedings are accessible to the judge in the system. As a result, processing time for cases has been considerably reduced.”
Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the importance of IECMS in the development of Rwanda as a country.
“We know from the SDG agenda that it’s important to have access to justice and rule of law – no country can develop without these foundations. This is why the Integrated Electronic Case Management System is so important. It plays a key role in the implementation of the SDG agenda and helping us achieve the “Leave No One behind” mandate,” said Mr. Stephen Rodriques, the UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda.
“We know that the IECMS has been fundamental in delivering an efficient and equitable system that is more customer focused so we are able to have a citizen-centered service delivery approach. Our journey from a manual system to an electronic integrated system has not been easy, but if we achieved it in Rwanda, we trust that every country can achieve it,” said Ms. Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation in Rwanda.
“Rwanda is using new technologies such as IECMS to drive social and economic transformation and, in the process, improve the lives of its people,” said Mr. Stephen Rodriques, the Resident Representative of UNDP in Rwanda.
Assessing the change brought by Rwanda IECMS, Ms. Isabelle Kalihangabo, the Deputy Secretary General of the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, recalled the pre-IECMS times. “Everything was done manually. There were a number of risks, including risks in recording data, inaccurate information, poor filing, disappearance of documents, and there was room for illegal detention. So, it was not just an issue of managing documents. It was an issue of human rights,” said Ms. Kalihangabo.
“IECMS has fully met our expectations. There is a time reduction in case management. It is cost effective and accessible,” she added.
Speaking on the correlation between Intelligent Monitoring & Evaluation and the improvement of the justice sector, Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy International Systems’ Founder and CEO said: “The purpose of Intelligent M&E is to empower Justice Sector practitioners and executives with the results from Artificial Intelligence algorithms for improving performance of their institutions.” He added that large quantities of data collected through IECMS is critical for supplying the required data to Intelligent M&E.
The conference covered the history and evolution of case management in Rwanda and included a live demonstration of the Rwanda IECMS in action.