International

Rwanda courts start trial by video

Rwanda’s courts have started to conduct trials through video link-up in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In a room at Kigali metropolitan police station, suspects sat separated in masks and handcuffed.

Everyone waited their turn in front of a TV screen to face the prosecution and judges, who were in different rooms across the capital.

It is week three of the lockdown in Rwanda, where 110 people were infected by the virus.

Courts had closed during the lockdown but crimes continued to be committed so people kept being added to the list of those awaiting trial.

The spokesperson for Rwanda’s courts, Harrison Mutabazi, told journalists that they want to reduce the backlog.

When it’s their turn, a suspect is freed from handcuffs and goes in front of the unusual trial.

Mr Mutabazi said this technology would be used in other courts in Rwanda during the lockdown.

Last week, the prosecution service started releasing those suspected of petty crimes to avoid holding too many people and risk speeding up the spread of Covid-19.