Rwanda announces plan to establish specialized court for refugee and asylum seeker cases

By Esther Muhozi
On 27 February 2024 at 05:29

Rwanda has announced the establishment of a specialized court that will specifically handle cases related to refugees and asylum seekers.

The Minister of Justice and State Attorney General, Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Clementine Mukeka, made the revelation before the members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation in Lower House of Parliament.

This initiative originates from the treaty signed between Rwanda and Britain, which outlines the reception of refugees in Britain in accordance with established laws.

The court will be presided over by a chief judge who will collaborate with a counterpart from a Commonwealth country.

Additionally, judges will be selected from various nations, ensuring a diverse range of expertise in humanitarian issues and human rights.

Clementine Mukeka emphasized that the court, once operational, will be responsible for addressing all refugee and asylum seeker issues, irrespective of their origin.

She stressed, "Our intention is not to show favoritism towards refugees solely from Britain. We aim for a comprehensive and cautious approach to prevent any discrimination."

Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, the Minister of Justice, highlighted Rwanda’s commitment to fulfilling all agreements since parting ways with Britain.

Dr. Ugirashebuja clarified that the Rwanda-Britain agreement does not affect other international protocols concerning refugees, urging stakeholders not to focus solely on criticizing Rwanda.

The Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in the Lower House of Parliament, Alice Muzana, affirmed that the initiatives being implemented provide assurance of the agreement’s practical implementation.

The agreement aims to repatriate asylum seekers who entered Britain through illegal means, as per the treaty ratified on October 5th, 2023, aiming to rectify misunderstandings arising from British Supreme Court.