Over 150 vulnerable persons received legal clinic aid last week through the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Clinic Aid Unit. The services were offered in all parts of the country. During the week, the campaign focused not only on providing free legal aid, but also raising awareness on people’s rights as a way to prevent violation of these rights.
The ministry dispatched 20 judges, 17 prosecutors and 40 lawyers to provide the services. “We initially planned to operate in 44 selected sectors in different districts we had identified as the most affected but we ended up operating in neighboring sectors and correctional centers,” said Jacqueline Bakamurera, the assistant Attorney General in charge of Legal Aid and Human Rights.
While officiating the launch of the Legal Clinic Aid week in Rulindo District, the Permanent Secretary and Deputy Attorney General, Mr Pascal Ruganintwali told hundreds of residents that “Access to justice should not depend on wealth, education levels, and religion but is universal to all Rwandans”.
The annual campaign also discussed common mistakes that hinder legal proceedings such as filing at the wrong instance or jumping levels which delay legal proceedings. Mr. Ruganintwali encouraged Rwandans to use the services available to them.
Legal aid services are available throughout the year but the ministry of justice runs an annual weeklong campaign to help the public know how they can benefit from legal aid services.