Supreme Court President commends RFL for supporting justice system with scientific evidences

On 9 March 2023 at 02:29

Supreme Court President, Dr. Faustin Ntezilyayo has said that Rwanda Forensic Laboratory (RFL) continues to cement the country’s commendable milestone in delivering quality justice to Rwandans and foreigners.

Dr. Nteziryayo delivered the message on 7th March 2023 as he officially officiated the opening of African Society of Forensic Medicine (ASFS) International Conference.

The conference was hosted by Rwanda through RFL. After enacting the law establishing RFL in 2016, the institution started offering convenient services to the judiciary, members of the private sector and citizens in 2018.

It became an autonomous body in the same year and is currently run under the aegis of the Ministry of Justice.

The RFL has modern equipment as well as experts and specialists capacitating it to conduct forensic investigations used to boost justice delivery.

Today, RFL provides 12 services including forensic toxicology, drug and chemistry, and documents examination and fingerprint analysis, DNA forensics, ballistics, forensic pathology and digital forensics.

As at November last year, RFL was offered services to more than 20 African countries.

The Director General of RFL, Dr. Charles Karangwa said that the conference provided a platform for participants to share knowledge and expertise in forensic services.

“This conference is seen as a catalyst for expansion or our activities. We want to harmonize approaches to fight crimes in Africa and technology using available resources on our continent,” he said.

“Technology used in Forensic science evolves every day like crimes get gradually sophisticated. That is why this conference serves as a platform to learn from the latest technologies lest we are left behind,” added Dr. Karangwa.

In his remarks to participants of ASFM2023, Dr. Ntezilyayo said that hosting the 10th edition of the conference is of great significance and commended the management of ASFM for having selected Rwanda.

“ASFM International Conference is a good initiative that brings together hundreds of scientists, forensic practitioners and other players from the forensic science community to exchange knowledge in the fast-increasing number of forensic science disciplines,” he said.

Dr. Ntezilyayo further stated that RFL continues to contribute to the delivery of quality and timely justice.

“Having a Forensic Institution that supports the justice system with evidence based on science and technology for use in our courts of law and other justice bodies is a great achievement to the country,” he noted.

“Besides providing relevant scientific evidence, Rwanda Forensic Laboratory services contribute towards reducing the turnaround time of judicial proceedings. It is worth noting that RFL has now concluded strategic forensic partnerships with international bodies and organizations and other sister institutions in order to enhance its expertise,” added Dr. Ntezilyayo.

He highlighted that RFL has been providing services not only in Rwanda but also to regional countries.

Today, RFL has so far released over 35,000 forensic evidences since 2018.

The President of ASFM, Dr. Uwom Okereke Eze said that forensic evidence services are much needed but stressed the need to harmonize them with other evidences to deliver quality justice.

“The evidences are important. How do we know they are valid evidences? I have just met you, I shake hands with you and I die. Then Police arrest you and conduct DNA test. Does it make you my murderer?” he wondered.

“We need to look at forensic evidences in a broader perspective to conduct investigation critically taking into consideration the reality of situations,” added Dr. Uwom.

He also said that governments should cater for the cost of forensic evidence services needed in justice delivery.

The African Forensic Science Academy which will be based in Rwanda was opened during the ASFM International Conference.