Rwanda Judiciary Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Pepperdine Caruso Law's Sudreau Global Justice Institute
After years of friendship and informal partnership, Pepperdine Caruso Law’s Sudreau Global Justice Institute officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Judiciary of Rwanda. The MOU aims at strengthening the capacity of institutions in the Criminal Justice Chain to prosecute and adjudicate criminal cases.
Global Justice Director for East Africa Scott Leist says the collaboration will “improve the lives of Rwandans as well as the health and professionalism of the criminal justice system globally.”
As one of the youngest, fastest-growing developing countries in the world, Rwanda is not only an economic stalwart in East Africa, it is an emerging technological and educational hub for all of Africa.
Director of the Sudreau Global Justice Institute Cameron McCollum emphasized his excitement about the collaboration. “For decades now, Rwanda has been a world leader in restorative justice. This MOU is just one more example of their courage and their commitment to a fair and just society. Our team at the Sudreau Global Justice Institute and the Caruso School of Law are honored and excited to support them in that mission through the implementation of plea bargaining and other access to justice initiatives.”
The Global Justice Institute and the Judiciary of Rwanda have been working together for many years; in 2021, the parties jointly expressed their interest in formalizing a partnership to actualize Rwanda's objective in ensuring an effective administration of criminal justice in Rwanda through the implementation of plea bargaining.
Consistent with its business and economic development, Rwanda has taken steps to modernize and reform the legal system and judiciary, including the introduction of civil mediation, creation and deployment of a state-of-the-art electronic case management system and authorization of criminal plea bargaining.
Leist comments that “the [collaboration] demonstrates the deep desire of Rwanda to deliver justice to its people faster, more efficiently and with care for all critical stakeholders — the accused, the State, victims and witnesses and the broader community.”
The Global Justice Institute will collaborate with the Judiciary of Rwanda to establish a collaborative relationship in areas of criminal justice reform with regard to implementation of the project, including, but not limited to: capacity building, exchange programs, trainings, externship programs, alternative dispute resolution, court case management, plea bargaining, public defense and access to justice for the indigent, prisoner justice, reduction in awaiting trial inmates, and other areas as the parties may agree from time to time.
Leist says, the institute “looks forward to reporting to the Rwandan people over the next 5 years that plea bargaining had taken hold, resulting in decreased case backlogs and remand times along with enhanced delivery of justice to all Rwandans.”