AUGUST 2023 LEGAL AID FACTSHEET
Every month, iPeace generates a legal aid factsheet. This factsheet compiles data on individuals who have received legal aid assistance from iPeace through its legal aid clinics and hotline. They also highlight prevailing issues, while also categorizing this assistance by gender and age. Moreover, these legal factsheets serve as a valuable source of factual information for government agencies, legal professionals, various organizations, and the wider community.
During the month of August 2023, a total of 7,619 individuals were recipients of legal aid services offered by iPeace. As illustrated in the factsheet, it’s noteworthy that women constitute a significant portion, accounting for 52% of our beneficiaries. This higher representation of women can be attributed to the prevalent occurrence of issues related to succession, gender-based violence, and land disputes among the supported individuals.
Similar to the previous month, criminal cases continue to dominate, comprising 31% of the total number of cases received. This significant presence of criminal cases can be attributed to three primary factors: incidents of assault and battery, theft, and the possession and use of narcotic drugs.
August, being a month marked by holidays for judges, our lawyers did not represent a significant number of clients before the court as usual. Nevertheless, during this period, our lawyers stepped in to support three (3) individuals whose cases required urgent attention from the courts and Rwanda investigation bureau (RIB).
iPeace extended its legal aid services not only through the conventional legal aid clinics but also via a dedicated hotline. The toll-free hotline was established with the aim of facilitating access to legal aid services without the need for individuals to physically visit the legal aid clinics. In the month of August, clients who personally visited our legal aid clinics comprised 72% of the total, while clients who accessed our services through the hotline represented 28%.
It’s worth noting that the increase in the number of individuals receiving legal aid through the legal aid clinics can be attributed to both iPeace’s efforts in increasing mobile legal aid clinics and the opening of new legal aid clinics in Rubavu and Rusizi districts.
Regarding the mobile legal aid clinics, iPeace’s legal officers conduct these sessions every Tuesday of the week, specifically focusing on inteko z’abaturage and other specific groups. In these mobile legal aid clinics, the legal officers have a multi-faceted approach. They aim to raise awareness about key laws, ensuring that individuals are equipped with the knowledge required to effectively exercise their rights. Additionally, they are readily available to address questions and concerns raised by participants, and they also take note of cases presented by attendees in order to provide them with the necessary legal assistance as required.
Ensuring the timely provision of legal assistance is of utmost significance, as it serves as a critical tool for narrowing the justice gap and making legal aid services more accessible to those who require them. iPeace is committed to continuously enhancing its services and strategies to guarantee that justice is accessible to all in a timely manner.