27th November 2017, Rwanda Bar has celebrated 20 years of Bar Association in Rwanda at Kigali Convention center.
At the acquisition of independence in 1962 until the 1994, Rwanda did not have a regulated legal profession (Bar Association). However, article 81 of the Act of 15th July 1964 Regulating the Code of Civil and Commercial Procedure mentioned the term “Advocate enrolled in the National Bar association” as the one qualified to represent and assist parties in courts. Since the independence of Rwanda from its colonial power (Belgium) i.e from 1962 up to the 1994, there was absolute lack of political will to institutionalize a professional Bar Association. Lack of will was further explained by structured and organized institutional indifference to denounce human rights violations that characterized the period that led to the genocide against the Tutsi of Rwanda in 1994.
The first Bar Association in Rwanda officially started on 30th August 1997 with only 37 members. After 20 years, the Bar Association counts 1200 where male advocates represent 77,5% while female represent 22,5% of the entire membership.
“The past 20 years have been a hive of activities with a Bar Association growing from strength to strength and we are most grateful for national, regional and international support to our organization withouth which we wouldn’t have recorded success in 20 years.” President of Rwanda Bar Association Julien Gustave KAVARUGANDA said
Hon. Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye as the Guest of Honor in this ceremony said “I realize that the organization has benchmarked its practice standards to international standards of legal practice which inspires confidence that Rwanda Bar Association members are more competitive in Rwanda”
He also took the time to thank Rwanda Bar for Its valuable contribution to access to justice through Legal Aid and the Pro Bono Programme, contribution to legislative reforms and other important justice sector policies and initiatives In Rwanda.