Ciarb Rwanda Branch Launch

We are delighted to announce the launch of Ciarb Rwanda Branch on 2 June 2023. 

Ciarb Rwanda Branch Chair, Athanase Rutabingwa FCIArb, says, "The launch of Ciarb Rwanda Branch is the first step in establishing training and networking opportunities on a domestic basis for our dispute resolution professionals. Better access to training will give added impetus to the development of our fast-growing community. There are currently just over 390 dispute resolution professionals in Rwanda, a fifth of whom are already members of Ciarb Rwanda Branch.” 

On 8 and 9 June 2023, Ciarb Rwanda Branch is collaborating with Ciarb Nigeria Branch to deliver an inaugural Introduction to International Arbitration course, leading to eligibility for Ciarb Associate membership. The course is suitable for both local and international trainees. 

Ciarb Rwanda Branch aims to: 

  • Encourage the use of arbitration and other modes of private dispute resolution in Rwanda through a continued working relationship with the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), which until now has been the sole provider of dispute resolution training in the jurisdiction. 
  • Support the growth in recognition of Rwanda as a seat for international arbitrations. 
  • Build capacity in collaboration with Ciarb HQ and other local and international stakeholders. Building a broader cohort of qualified arbitrators with specialist knowledge, skills, and expertise across a variety of professional sectors. 
  • Facilitate the growth of qualified dispute resolution professionals in Rwanda by providing a range of professional development courses and assessments that lead to Ciarb qualifications. Until now, arbitration training has been taking place through the Ciarb Nigeria Branch and through the Judiciary of Rwanda for mediators. 
  • Enable better networking for Rwanda’s dispute resolution community by providing a forum to meet, network, and exchange ideas with other dispute resolution professionals in the jurisdiction. 
  • Contribute to the global development of the Ciarb community. 
  • Work in collaboration with the Judiciary of Rwanda and the justice sector to build better access to justice in Rwanda through the improved administration and professional guidance of dispute resolution practitioners in the jurisdiction. 

Catherine Dixon, Ciarb's Director General, says, “We are delighted to launch a Ciarb Branch in Rwanda and welcome Rwanda as our 43rd Branch to join our global network. I take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone involved with creating the Branch and wish Ciarb’s latest Branch every future success.” 

Profile of Ciarb Rwanda Branch Chair: Athanase Rutabingwa FCIArb is one of the founding Partners of MRB Attorneys, which was set up in 2013, and is a Fellow of Ciarb. Athanase joined the Rwanda Bar Association in 2000 and served as its President from 2011 to 2015. He is highly qualified in dispute resolution mechanisms, litigation in commercial law, banking, labour law, land law, and transport law. 

Athanase has served as a Council Member of the East African Law Society and as the sitting President of the Conference International des Barreaux (CIB). In addition, he is a lecturer at Rwanda's Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD). 

Dispute resolution in Rwanda – A timeline 

  • 2003 - recognition by the Government that the massive backlog of cases in Rwanda’s courts needed to be rectified and that Rwanda needed to be positioned as more investor-friendly. 
  • 2008 - Commercial Courts were established and a new Arbitration Law based on the UNCITRAL model law was proposed. 
  • 2010 – the Government passed an act of Parliament to set up an independent body tasked with promoting Rwanda as a venue of efficient arbitration services and a centre of excellence for research and training of professionals in ADR. 
  • 2012 - KIAC became fully operational. 
  • 2023 - Ciarb Rwanda Branch launches.