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Projet: Emission Club de la Presse: "Urubuga rw’Itangazamakuru "

Activité:Talk show ″Urubugarw'itangazamakuru″ (Club de la presse)


  • IPGL

Plea Bargain: Lawyers, activists welcome the move and emphasize on importance of integrity

Wednesday, October 12 is the day when Rwanda’s justice system started implementing the procedure. During the pilot phase, plea bargaining will be only applied in cases involving assault and theft.

In law, plea bargaining is the practice of negotiating an agreement between the prosecution and the defence, whereby the defendant pleads guilty to particular charges in exchange for a lenient sentence.

Speaking in Club de la Presse talk show, Official Spokesperson of National Public Prosecution Authority Faustin Nkusi said that plea bargaining is one of the measures that the justice sector is counting on to not only reduce backlog in courts and overcrowding in prisons, but also deliver justice in a faster and more efficient way.

Me John Mudakikwa argues the prosecution authority to take into consideration the importance of integrity in the process of making a plea bargain deal.

He noted that for judges, before he can accept a plea bargain agreement to proceed, they always have to pay attention to certain details including whether all the parties are entering it willingly.

“They will make sure that the plea is being entered knowingly and voluntarily; that no pressure is being used to compel an individual to plead guilty; that there aren’t any circumstances that they are unaware of that might be compelling that person to accept responsibility when they may in fact feel that they have not committed the crime,” Replied Nkusi from NPPA

Director General of the Justice Sector Coordination at Ministry of Justice- Rwanda Anastase Nabahire said the goal of the procedure is not to allow people to escape justice for the crime they have committed or limit the jurisdiction of the prosecution or courts.

“The goal instead is to encourage the accused persons to accept responsibility when appropriate and bring faster justice to the accused, the victims but also the community,” he said.

Me Ibambe Jean Paul noted that it is important to come up with such solutions in the criminal justice system, in order to deal with the problems that are facing the justice sector currently.

He gave the example of Mageragere prison where this program started and said some of the detainees who participated in the procedure were released and went home.

“One of the challenges we are having is that there are a lot of people on pre-trial detention, and some of the reasons for this is that there is fear that they will escape or interfere with the investigations. However, when people enter a plea bargain, such risks are minimized, so, more people can be tried while out of custody," he said.

The audience reaction was about the need to have enough communication and consultations among the prosecutors in order to make sure that the plea bargain deal is fair.

They recommended that the prosecutors set up guidelines that will be followed for fair plea bargain offers.

The plea bargain rollout is in a pilot phase in five intermediate courts: Gasabo, Nyarugenge, Gicumbi, Muhanga, and Musanze, before it gets scaled up to more.


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