This report presents the findings of the qualitative assessment conducted by the Legal Aid Forum (LAF), with financial support from UN Rwanda and UN Women, in pre-selected districts in Rwanda. Its aim is to identify the main challenges and capacity gaps of the judicial sector personnel (judicial police officers, prosecutors and judges) in relation to the management of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases.
Findings suggest that the definition of GBV and GBV categories in the national law lack clarity. Respondents further (1) widely acknowledged the need to enhance the knowledge and understanding of national legal provisions by judicial personnel at all levels – including police, prosecution and court level –, highlighted (2) the lack of clear guidelines supporting diverse actors alongside the process of evidence collection, and (3) the need to improve the exploration of different and/or complementary types of evidence in addition and/or as an alternative to medical evidence. Recommendations thus include (1) the enhancement of the national legal framework for GBV through the application of a comprehensive set of guidelines that will support judicial sector personnel of diverse institutions and at different level in the qualification and management of GBV cases, (2) the enhancement of skills in GBV case analysis, crime qualification and evidence collection methods, (3) the strengthening of collaboration, exchange of information and referral systems among GBV-related institutions and agencies, and (4) the necessity for training of judicial personnel in both gender and GBV related issues, jointly with the need to reinforce GBV desks, units and focal points at the institutional level.
Keywords: GBV; Legal framework; Capacity gaps in the judicial sector; Rwanda.