By Athan Tashobya
The long-awaited National Forensic Laboratory will be inaugurated today, The New Times has established.
The facility, located in Kacyiru in the capital Kigali, cost about Rwf7 billion.
The forensic laboratory is deemed an important addition in terms of providing scientific evidence and it is expected to help significantly slash the cost of evidence-gathering.
Speaking during an interview with this newspaper on Wednesday, Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said the laboratory is ready for inauguration.
"We have been trying to build capacity for forensic science over the last couple of years and are now happy to be where we are. We are not at 100 per cent but we can do any of the required tests in Rwanda, such as DNA tests… we have been sending samples to Germany for as long as I can remember," Busingye said.
Previous reports showed that Rwanda spent about Rwf800,000 to ship a single sample to Germany or the UK for DNA testing services.
Busingye added; "We are happy to tell Rwandans that for any of their DNA tests; whether it is by court, or by prosecution or by mutual consent of two individuals, as long as it is law abiding, the laboratory is able to deliver on that. There are also other tests that will be done by the facility".
He said the National Forensic Laboratory would be an independent agency with its own fully-fledged administrative system.
"The National Forensic Laboratory is established by law and it is independent and professionally established specifically for forensic science. See, if you have a forensic laboratory that is under another law enforcement department and I am a lawyer, I will just dispute the results from the lab (on grounds of meddling).
"That's why we thought that they should be independent – their job is to examine the evidence and bring out the results. For them, they have no interest in the end results of the tests," Busingye said.
In January the cabinet appointed Chief Superintendent of Police Dr François Sinayobye as the director-general of the National Forensic Laboratory.
The facility was initially set to open a couple of years back but there were delays due to difficulties in procurement of the right equipment.