Rwanda to support Digital Transformation of Jamaica's Justice Sector

Mission Team completes Needs Assessment

July 12, 2023
Rwanda government mission to Jamaica to support digital transformation in the justice sector

Chief Justice of Jamaica, Hon. Justice Bryan Sykes (third left) and Head of the Rwandan Delegation and President of the Rwandan Court of Appeal, Justice Francois Regis Rukundakuvuga (centre) are joined by representatives from the Canadian Government at the closing ceremony of the IECMS Mission to Jamaica. (From left) First Secretary - Development, High Commission of Canada to Jamaica, Ms Emma Dunkley Elliott; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Grace Ann Stewart McFarlane; Director of the Court Administration Division, Mrs Tricia Cameron-Anglin; Resident Representative, UNDP Jamaica, Ms. Denise E Antonio; and Senior International Assistance Officer, High Commission of Canada to Jamaica, Ms Deborah Duperly-Pinks

Ministry of Justice, Jamaica

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) successfully hosted a delegation from the Government of Rwanda, as part of a digital transformation needs assessment of the Jamaican justice sector. The delegation arrived in the island on June 25 and visited key partners and stakeholders within the justice sector to assess their readiness for implementing the Rwanda model of an Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS).

Minister Chuck shared his views on the visit. “This is a significant step towards enhancing the ongoing work towards an efficient and effective first-class justice system in Jamaica. This collaboration between the Government of Jamaica and the Rwandan Government, reflects Rwanda’s commitment to sharing its expertise and experiences in building a strong and resilient judicial system. It also demonstrates the willingness of both our countries to learn from each other’s best practices in using digital technology to improve efficiency, and streamline processes in the justice sector.”

For his part, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes indicated that “the implementation of the IECMS in Jamaica represents the most significant change that could happen to the legal system in Jamaica since Independence. It is expected to transform the way we do business; make the courts more efficient; reduce wait times for documents; reduce wait times for cases to get through the courts; reduce wait times for transcripts and also reduce the cost for litigating in the courts. Most importantly, the IECMS will make the courts more accessible to the clients that we serve.”

Representing the Government of Canada at the closing ceremony, Stephanie O`Leary, Chargé d’affaires a.i. at the High Commission of Canada to Jamaica, stated that, “The integration of digital technology is critical to reduce backlogs and transforms how justice services are delivered. That is why Canada is proud to support the development of Jamaica’s Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) through SO-JUST.”      

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio who also addressed the closing, said “case management digitization is the next frontier to be conquered by Jamaica’s justice system, one that is completely in step with Jamaica’s vision to become a digital society. As we proceed along this path, we must take lessons learned to bolster access to populations often left behind … Digitization can be harnessed to level the playing field while reducing inequalities.”

The assessment conducted by the Rwandan delegation focused on three main components: evaluating Jamaica's readiness for the IECMS, identifying software needs, and assessing infrastructure requirements. The delegation was led by Justice Francois Regis Rukundakuvuga, President of the Rwandan Court of Appeal and Head of Delegation who emphasized the importance to establish an enabling institutional and regulatory environment to fully leverage the value of the IECMS system within Jamaica's justice sector.

The seven member delegation, which departed on July 6 and 7, engaged in high-level meetings with staff from the Ministry of Justice, the Court Administration Division and other Justice Sector partners. This was done to enable a comprehensive assessment of Jamaica's justice sector.

The visit was made possible through the partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi Country Office in Jamaica, with funding from the Government of Canada under the Social Justice (SO-JUST) project. The Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with the Court Administration Division, provided logistics support throughout the visit. 

Earlier this year, the Government of Canada generously donated CAD$12 million to the Government of Jamaica for the SO-JUST project, which aims to promote a rights-based and gender-sensitive justice system, ensuring equitable outcomes for all Jamaicans