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Rwanda: Lady Justice Nyirinkwaya Retires After 27 Years on the Supreme Court Bench

Lady Justice Immaculée Nyirinkwaya, Rwanda’s trailblazing female Supreme Court justice, bid farewell to the judiciary after an illustrious 27-year career. In bidding farewell to her, Rwanda’s top judicial practitioners gathered at the Supreme Court Headquarters on Friday, July 7, to honor her legacy. Among them included her colleagues, lawyers, and members of her family.

Chief Justice Faustin Ntazilyayo commended Justice Nyirinkwaya’s remarkable achievements and unwavering dedication to justice. He underscored her tireless efforts in upholding the rule of law and her significant impact on shaping Rwanda’s legal landscape, particularly in the aftermath of the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

“Right After the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, Rwanda faced numerous challenges, especially within its justice system. Lady Justice Nyirinkwaya played a pivotal role in rebuilding the legal infrastructure, which had been severely affected by the atrocities. Her unwavering commitment addressed the scarcity of qualified personnel and expertise, ultimately strengthening the justice system,” he stated.

The Chief Justice also lauded Nyirinkwaya’s strong analytical and logical thinking skills, as well as her active involvement in mentoring young lawyers. He emphasized her deep commitment to upholding the law and promoting justice, leaving an indelible impact on the legal profession.

Emeritus Lady Justice Aloysie Cyanzayire, and a long-time associate of Nyirinkwaya, described her as an organized and humble individual. Cyanzayire highlighted Nyirinkwaya’s exceptional ability to plan, prioritize, and manage tasks effectively, enabling her to handle responsibilities in an orderly manner.

During her farewell speech, the 65-year-old Lady Justice Nyirinkwaya expressed gratitude for the cooperation and support she received from her colleagues throughout her 27-year tenure. Reflecting on her career, she emphasized the importance of professionalism, integrity, and a commitment to high standards, sacrifice, consideration, and prioritization.