This case study documents the experience of Penal Reform International running a pilot paralegal programme in Rwanda from 2009 to 2010. PRI’s work from 1998 to 2010 in the Great Lakes region of Africa aimed to reduce the pre-trial prison population. The organisation monitored the process of Gacaca – the name given to the system of community-based courts for prosecuting genocide suspects – and its work expanded to include providing paralegal services. In July 2009, with support from the European Commission and the Belgian government, PRI launched a pilot project to develop paralegal services for detainees held in prisons in Rwanda, with the objectives of contributing to a reduction in the high rates of pre-trial detention, improving access to justice and supporting the right of detainees to a fair trial.
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