Rights lobbies decry slow enforcement of court orders

Wednesday October 17 2018

By ARAFAT MUGABO
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Delays in execution of court decisions by court bailiffs and public notaries is denying many Rwandans access to justice.

Commissioners at the National Council for Human Rights requested the government to ensure bailiffs implement court rulings on time.

Asuman Mugisha a plaintiff at the release of the annual report by the National Council for Human Rights, told Rwanda Today his case was terminated by court rulings and enforcement formula provided, but 10 months later nothing has been done.

“I believe there are some challenges encountered by bailiffs but that wouldn’t take execution of the ruling decision to 10 month. The most important thing that leads to days is because most of the professional and nonprofessional bailiffs are corrupt careless respectively” Mr Mugisha said.

“I decided to terminate the contract with the first bailiff who was working on my case because he was corrupt and good enough he was punished by the Association for Professional Bailiffs, but I’m sure there are many still working with the same culture,” he says.

Madeleine Nirere, president of National Council for Human Rights noted that most Rwandans don't get justice due to delays in implementation of court decisions.

“Enforcement of the court decisions is the justice because there isn’t any reason why you should file a case when you don’t expect any reward from it,” Ms Madeleine said.

“We will have fair access to justice and respected human rights to all if everyone is catered for the same way when it comes to termination of court decisions,” she said.

According to Anastasi Barinda, executive director of Professional Bailiffs Association in Rwanda, there are many cases which are unexecuted.

For instance, out of 50 cases that may be received in a month, only 20 may reach successfully handled.

Challenges

“The problem is not the bailiff’s wrong acts, there are many challenges leading to the failure of enforcement procedures. For instance, the wining party of plaintiff may delay the process of enforcement of the decisions,” Mr Mr Barinda said.

“It happens in cases when the one party in the dispute is expecting money from somewhere else to pay the other party,” he said.

However, he said bailiffs encounter problems of mismatching documents where one of two parties in court decides to change identification, names on assets.

In such cases, he said, the winners gets nothing because the looser has nothing to pay.

He, however, attributed ignorance and carelessness of nonprofessional bailiffs who get files of plaintiffs and keep them in their offices because they have other responsibilities to carry out.

“Lack of awareness by the public about the procedures taken by bailiffs to reach the handing over of the award to the winning party, also make people think that the activities delays,” he added.