Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Launches Rwanda Branch to Boost Alternative Dispute Resolution Profile

On 2nd June 2023, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), headquartered in the UK, officially launched a Rwanda Branch; the 43rd branch of CIArb. CIArb Rwanda’s stated aims are to popularize and promote arbitration via close cooperation with both CIArb’s headquarters and with the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), to raise Rwanda’s profile internationally as an arbitral seat, and to increase capacity in the sector by engaging stakeholders at home and abroad. Additionally, it seeks to expand and develop opportunities for training, networking and information exchange, and collaborate with the Rwanda judiciary and associated bodies to enhance the administration of, and access to justice.

Athanase Rutabingwa, a partner at MRB Attorneys and co-founder of the firm, will serve as the Chair of CIArb Rwanda. Rutabingwa brings extensive experience in commercial litigation and ADR, particularly in arbitration related to banking, employment, real estate, and transportation matters. He has also served as a Council Member of the East African Law Society and as the sitting President of the Conference International des Barreaux (CIB).

The use of Arbitration in dispute settlement in Rwanda dates back to 2008 when Commercial Courts were established and a new Arbitration Law based on the UNCITRAL model law was proposed. In 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. This was followed by the operationalization of the Kigali International Arbitration Centre in 2012 and more recently, the launch of CIArb Rwanda Branch in June 2023.

Tha launch of the CIArb Rwanda Branch is a notable development as it will establish training and networking opportunities on a domestic basis for dispute resolution professionals in Rwanda. The same will also give added impetus to the use of Arbitration in resolution of disputes in Rwanda and the wider East African Region.

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