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Rwanda: First Legal Practice Institute

(June 2, 2008) On May 11, 2008, Rwanda's first center for the development of law, the National Institute of Legal Practice and Development, was launched. Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, who officiated at the opening ceremony, stated that the Institute's establishment conformed to the government's aim to reinforce the implementation of judicial reforms, which began in 2003. The Institute will offer a nine-month course in law, a post-graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and Continuing Legal Education, and training to judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. Public notaries, court clerks, bailiffs, and civil servants will also be able to receive training at the Institute.

Vastina Rukimirana Nsanze, Rector of the Institute, stated that because the Institute is new and lacks experienced staff, it will mainly rely on international trainers to work with the Rwandan trainees, with a view to reducing that dependency in two to three years. To bolster staff training and enhance research, Nsanze added, the Institute will seek closer ties with regional and international institutes of legal practice.

Minister of Justice and concurrently Attorney General Tharcisse Karugarama, speaking at the inauguration ceremony, called the opening of the Institute “a timely move that will enhance the rule of Law in the country.” Karugarama noted that the Institute will be a “hub for French-speaking African lawyers willing to qualify to do business in English speaking countries and for English-speaking lawyers willing to qualify for doing business in francophone countries” and “will also help lawyers who were educated in the Common Law system adapt to Civil Law and vice versa.” He added that, with help from the United Nations Development Program, the Ministry of Justice has established an “Access to Justice Bureau” aimed at bringing justice-related services closer to the Rwandan people. (Paul Ntambara, Rwanda: Country's First Legal Institute Launched, THE NEW TIMES (Kigali) May 12, 2008, available at