Africa Justice System Reform Initiative
Population: 11,262,564. 2015 estimate of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda
Region: Central Africa. Located in Central/Eastern Africa, Rwanda is landlocked is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and Burundi to the south.
System of Governance
Population: 11,262,564. 2015 estimate of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda
Region: Central Africa. Located in Central/Eastern Africa, Rwanda is landlocked is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and Burundi to the south.
Population: 11,262,564. 2015 estimate of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda
Region: Central Africa. Located in Central/Eastern Africa, Rwanda is landlocked is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and Burundi to the south.
Population: 11,262,564. 2015 estimate of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda
Region: Central Africa. Located in Central/Eastern Africa, Rwanda is landlocked is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and Burundi to the south.
Treaties and Conventions
The Constitution Of The Republic of Rwanda
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA
Table of Contents
Title I: The State and National Sovereignty
Chapter I: General Provisions
Chapter II: Fundamental Principles
Title II: Fundamental Rights of the Person and the Rights and Duties of the Citizen
Chapter I: The Fundamental Rights of the Person
Chapter II: The Rights and Duties of the Citizen
Title III: Political Organizations
Title IV: Powers
Chapter I: General Provisions Chapter II: The Legislature Chapter III: The Executive
Chapter IV: The Relationship Between the Legislative and the Executive Powers
Chapter V: The Judicial Power
Title V: Public Prosecution
Chapter I: The Parquet Général of the Republic
Chapter II: Military Prosecution Department
Chapter III: The Supreme Council of the Prosecution
Title VI: The Decentralized Powers
Chapter I: General Principles
Chapter II: The National Council of Dialogue
Title VII: National Defense and Security
Chapter I: The National Police
Chapter II: The National Security Service
Chapter III: The Rwanda Defense Forces
Title VIII: Special Commissions and Organs
Chapter I: General Provisions
Chapter II: The National Commission for the Rights of the Person
Chapter III: The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission
Chapter IV: The National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide
Chapter V: The National Electoral Commission
Chapter VI: The Public Service Commission
Chapter VII: The Office of the Ombudsman
Chapter VIII: The Office of the Auditor-General of State Finances
Chapter IX: The “Gender” Monitoring Office
Chapter X: Chancellery for Heroes and National Orders
Title IX: National Councils
Chapter I: National Council of Women
Chapter II: The National Youth Council
Title X: International Treaties and Agreements
Title XI: Amendment of the Constitution
Title XII: Transitory and Final Provisions
Chapter I: Transitory Provisions
Chapter II: Final Provisions
We, KAGAME Paul,
President of the Republic;
Given the Fundamental Law of the Republic of Rwanda as amended to date,
especially the Arusha Peace Agreement in its part on Power-Sharing in
its Article 41, and in its part on Miscellaneous Issues and Final
Provisions in its Article 22;
Considering that the new Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda was adopted by Rwandan citizens in the Referendum of May 26, 2003 as confirmed by the Supreme Court in its ruling No. 772/14.06/2003 of 6/2/2003;
DO HEREBY PROMULGATE THIS CONSTITUTION AND ORDER IT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA.
PREAMBLE We, the People of Rwanda,
1. In the wake of the genocide that was organized and supervised by unworthy leaders and other perpetrators and that decimated more than a million sons and daughters of Rwanda;
2. Resolved to fight the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations and to eradicate ethnic, regional and any other form of divisions;
3. Determined to fight dictatorship by putting in place democratic institutions and leaders freely elected by ourselves;
4. Emphasizing the necessity to strengthen and promote national unity and reconciliation which were seriously shaken by the genocide and its consequences;
5. Conscious that peace and unity of Rwandans constitute the essential basis for national economic development and social progress;
6. Resolved to build a State governed by the rule of law, based on respect for fundamental human rights, pluralistic democracy, equitable power-sharing, tolerance and resolution of issues through dialogue;
7. Considering that we enjoy the privilege of having one country, a common language, a common culture and a long shared history, which ought to lead to a common vision of our destiny;
8. Considering that it is necessary to draw from our centuries-old history the positive values, which characterized our ancestors that must be the basis for the existence and flourishing of our Nation;
9. Reaffirming our adherence to the principles of human rights enshrined in the United Nations Charter of June 26, 1945, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of December 21, 1965, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of December 19, 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of December 19, 1966, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women of May 1, 1980, the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights of June 27, 1981 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child of November 20, 1989;
10. Committed to ensuring equal rights between Rwandans and between men and women without prejudice to the principles of gender equality in national development;
11. Determined to develop human resources, to fight ignorance, to promote technological advancement and the social welfare of the people of Rwanda;
12. Considering that after the Transition period, Rwanda shall be governed by a Constitution comprising ideas expressed by Rwandans themselves;
Now hereby adopt, by referendum, this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic of Rwanda.
THE STATE AND NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY CHAPTER I: GENERAL PROVISIONS
The Rwandan State is an independent, sovereign, democratic, social and secular Republic.
The principle governing the Republic is “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
All the power derives from the people.
No group of people or individual can attribute to themselves the exercise of power.
National sovereignty belongs to the people who shall exercise it directly by way of referendum or through their representatives.
The territory of Rwanda is divided into Provinces, Districts, Cities, Municipalities, Towns, Sectors and Cells.
The law determines the number, boundaries, organization and functioning of Provinces, Cities, Municipalities, Towns and Districts.
The Capital of the Republic of Rwanda is the City of Kigali.
The law determines the organization, functioning and operation of the City of Kigali. The Capital can by law be transferred elsewhere within Rwanda.
The national language is Kinyarwanda. The official languages are Kinyarwanda, French and English.
The national symbols of Rwanda are the flag, the motto, the seal and the national anthem. The national flag is made up of three colors: green, yellow and blue.
The flag comprises the following colors from the bottom to the top: a green strip, followed by a yellow strip both of which cover half the flag. The upper half is blue and bears on its right hand side the image of the sun with its rays of golden yellow. The sun and its rays are separated by a blue ring.
The law determines the characteristics, significance, usage and
ceremonials of the national flag. The motto of the Republic is: UNITY,
The Seal of the Republic is made up of a circular green rope with a green knot at the base, bearing on its upper part, the imprints REPUBULIKA Y’U RWANDA. At the bottom of the knot is the motto of the Republic: UBUMWE, UMURIMO, GUKUNDA IGIHUGU. All these inscriptions are in black against a yellow background.
The Seal of the Republic also bears the following ideograms: the sun with its rays, a stem of sorghum and a branch of a coffee tree, a basket, a blue wheel with teeth and two shields one on the right and one on the left.
The characteristics, significance, usage and protection of the Seal are
determined by law. The national anthem is “RWANDA NZIZA.”
The characteristics and ceremonies of the national anthem are determined by law.
Every person has the right to nationality. Dual nationality is permitted.
No person may be deprived of Rwandan nationality of origin.
No person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality or of the right to change nationality.
Rwandans or their descendants who were deprived of their nationality between November 1, 1959 and December 31, 1994 by reason of acquisition of foreign nationalities automatically reacquire Rwandan nationality if they return to settle in Rwanda.
All persons originating from Rwanda and their descendants have the right to acquire Rwandan nationality if they demand it.
The conditions of acquisition, retention, enjoyment and deprivation of Rwandan nationality are determined by an organic law.
Suffrage is universal and equal for all citizens.
Suffrage is direct or indirect and secret, unless the Constitution or another law provides otherwise.
All Rwandan citizens of both sexes who fulfill the requirements provided for by the law have the right to vote and to be elected.
The law determines the conditions and modalities for the conduct of elections.
CHAPTER II: FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
The State of Rwanda commits itself to conform to the following fundamental principles and to promote and enforce respect for them:
1. the fight against the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations;
2. the eradication of ethnic, regional and other divisions and the promotion of national unity;
3. the equitable sharing of power;
4. the building of a State governed by the rule of law, a pluralistic democratic government, equality of all Rwandans and between women and men reflected by attributing to women at least thirty per cent (30%) of posts in decision making organs;
5. the building of a State committed to promoting social welfare and to establishing appropriate mechanisms for ensuring social justice;
6. the constant search for solutions through dialogue and consensus.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE PERSON AND THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN
THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE PERSON
The human person is sacred and inviolable.
The State and all public powers have the absolute obligation to respect, protect and defend it.
All Rwandans are born and remain free and equal in rights and duties.
Any discrimination based on race, ethnicity, clan, tribe, color, sex, region, social origin, religion or belief, opinion, economic status, differences of culture, language, social situation, physical or mental deficiency or any other form of discrimination is prohibited and punishable by law.
Every person has the right to life. No person shall be arbitrarily deprived of life.
The crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are imprescriptible. Revisionism, negationism and trivialization of genocide are punishable by the law.
The State, within the limits of its capacities, takes special measures for the welfare of the survivors of genocide who were rendered destitute by the genocide committed in Rwanda from October1, 1990 to December 31, 1994, the disabled, the indigent and the elderly as well as other vulnerable persons.
Every person has the right to physical and mental integrity.
No one may be made the object of torture, services, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments.
No one may be subjected to experimentation without his or her informed consent. The modalities of such consent and such experiments are regulated by law.
All human beings are equal before the law. They have the right, without any distinction, to an equal protection by the law.
Criminal liability is personal. Civil liability is defined by law.
No one shall be imprisoned on the ground of inability to fulfill obligations arising from civil or commercial laws.
The freedom of the person is guaranteed by the State.
No one shall be subjected to prosecution, arrest, detention or punishment on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a crime under the law in force at the time it was committed.
The right to be informed of the nature and cause of charges and the right to defense are absolute at all levels and degrees of proceedings before administrative, and judicial and all other decision making organs.
Every person accused of a crime shall be presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been legally and conclusively established in accordance with the law in a public and fair hearing in which all the necessary guarantees for defense have been accorded.
Nobody may be denied the right to appear before a judge whom the law assigns.
Nobody shall be punished for acts or omissions that did not constitute an offense under national or international law at the time of commission.
Neither shall any person be punished with a penalty which is heavier than the one that was applicable under the law at the time when the offense was committed.
No one may be subjected to security measures except as provided for by law, for reasons of public order and State security.
No one’s private life, family, home or correspondence—nor his honor and reputation—shall be subjected to arbitrary interference.
A person’s domicile is inviolable. No search of or entry into a domicile may be ordered without the consent of the owner, except in the cases and in accordance with the forms specified by law.
The confidentiality of correspondence and communication may not be the object of derogation except in the cases and forms specified by law.
Every Rwandan citizen has the right to move and to circulate freely and to settle anywhere in Rwanda. Every citizen has the right to leave and to return.
The exercise of this right may not be limited except by the law for reasons of public order or State security, in order to deal with a public menace or to protect persons in danger.
Every Rwandan has the right to his or her country. No citizen may be forced into exile.
The right to asylum is recognized under conditions defined by the law.
The extradition of foreigners shall be authorized only so far as it is consistent with the law or international conventions to which Rwanda is a party. However, no Rwandan may be extradited.
Only monogamous civil marriage between a man and a woman is recognized.
No person of feminine or masculine gender may be married without his or her free consent.
Parties to a marriage have equal rights and duties during their marriage and at the time of divorce. The law determines conditions, forms and effect of marriage.
The family, which is the natural basis of Rwandan society, is protected by the State. Both parents have the right and duty to bring up their children.
The State puts in place appropriate legislation and institutions for the protection of the family and the mother and child in particular in order to ensure that the family flourishes.
Every child has the right to special measures of protection by his or her family, society and the State that are necessary, depending on the condition of the child, in conformity with national and international law.
Every person has a right to private property, whether personal or collective. Private property, whether individual or collective, is inviolable.
The right to property may not be interfered with except for reason for public utility, in cases and manners established by law and subject to fair and prior compensation.
Private ownership of land and other rights related to land are granted by the State. The law determines the modalities of acquisition, transfer and the use of land.
The property of the State comprises of public and private domain of the central Government as well as the public and private property of decentralized public collectivities.
The public property of the State is inalienable unless there has been prior transfer to the private property of the State.
Every person shall respect public property.
Any act intended to cause sabotage, vandalism, corruption, embezzlement, squandering or any tampering with public property shall be punishable by law.
The freedom of thought, opinion, conscience, religion, worship and their public manifestation are guaranteed by the State in accordance with conditions defined by law.
Propaganda of ethnic, regional, racial or any other form of division is punishable by law.
The freedom of the press and freedom of information are recognized and guaranteed by the State.
The freedom of expression and freedom of information may not prejudice public order and good morals, the right to the protection of the young and children, and every citizen to honor, good reputation and the privacy of personal and family life.
The conditions for exercising such freedoms are determined by law.
There is hereby established an independent institution known as the “High Council of the Press.” The law shall determine its functions, organization and operation.
The freedom of association is guaranteed and does not require prior authorization. It is exercised under conditions determined by law.
Freedom of peaceful assembly without arms is guaranteed if it is not inconsistent with the law.
Prior authorization may not be required, except by a law, solely for open-air assemblies, public roads, and public places, and then only for reasons of security, public order and health.
Every person has the right to free choice of employment.
Persons with the same competence and ability have a right to equal pay for equal work without discrimination.
The right to form trade unions for the defense and the promotion of legitimate professional interests is recognized. Any worker may defend his rights through trade union action under conditions determined by law.
Any employer has the right to join an employer’s organization.
Trade unions and employers’ associations have the right to enter into general or specific agreements regulating their working relations. The modalities relating to these agreements are defined by law.
The right of workers’ to strike is permitted and shall be exercised within the limits provided for by the law, but the exercise of this right must not interfere with the freedom to work which is guaranteed for everyone.
Every person has the right to education.
Freedom of learning and teaching shall be guaranteed in accordance with conditions determined by law. Primary education is compulsory. It is free in public schools.
The conditions for free primary education in schools subsidized by the Government are determined by an organic law.
The State has the duty to take special measures to facilitate the education of disabled people. An organic law determines the organization of Education.
All citizens have the right and duties relating to health. The State has the duty of mobilizing the population for activities aimed at promoting good health and to assist in the implementation of these activities.
Every foreigner legally residing in the Republic of Rwanda shall enjoy all rights save those reserved for nationals as determined under this Constitution and other laws.
In the exercise of rights and enjoyment of freedoms, every person shall only be subjected to the limitations set by the law in order to ensure the recognition and respect of others’ rights and freedoms, good morals, public order and social welfare which characterize a democratic society.
The judiciary as the guardian of rights and freedoms of the public ensures respect thereof in accordance with procedures determined by law.
THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN
All citizens have the right to participate in the government of the country, whether directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the law.
All citizens have the right of equal access to public service in accordance with their competence and abilities.
Every citizen has the duty to relate to other persons without discrimination and to maintain relations conducive to safeguarding, promoting and reinforcing mutual respect, solidarity and tolerance.
All citizens have the duty to participate, through work, in the development of the country; to safeguard peace, democracy, social justice and equality and to participate in the defense of the fatherland.
The law shall organize national service, whether civil or military.
In all circumstances, every citizen, whether civilian or military, has the duty to respect the Constitution, other laws and regulations of the country.
Every citizen has the right to defy orders received from his or her superior authority if the orders constitute a serious and manifest violation of human rights and public freedoms.
Every citizen is entitled to a healthy and satisfying environment.
Every person has the duty to protect, safeguard and promote the environment. The State shall protect the environment. The law determines the modalities for protecting, safeguarding and promoting the environment.
Every citizen has the right to activities that promote national culture.
There is hereby established the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture. The law shall determine its functions, organization and operation.
The State has the duty to safeguard and to promote national values based on cultural traditions and practices so long as they do not conflict with human rights, public order and good morals. The State equally has the duty to preserve the national cultural heritage as well as genocide memorials and sites.
Multipartism is recognized.
Political organizations fulfilling the conditions required by law are permitted to be formed and to operate freely; they must abide by the Constitution and other laws as well as democratic principles and they should not destabilize national unity, territorial integrity and security of the nation.
Political organizations participate in the education of citizens on politics based on democracy and elections and operate in such a manner as to ensure that women and men have equal access to elective offices.
The leadership organs of political organizations shall only maintain offices at the national, provincial and Kigali City levels.
Rwandans are free to join political organizations of their choice or not to join them.
No Rwandan shall be subjected to discrimination by reason of membership of a given political organization or on account of not belonging to any political organization.
It is prohibited for political organizations to identify themselves by a race, ethnic group, tribe, clan, region, sex, religion or any other division which may give rise to discrimination.
Political organizations must constantly reflect the unity of the people of Rwanda and gender equality, whether in the recruitment of members, putting in place organs of leadership and in their operations and activities.
The Senate may lodge a complaint against a political organization (formation politique) which has grossly violated the obligations contained in the provisions of Articles 52, 53 and 54 of this Constitution with the High Court of the Republic. In case of appeal, the appeal is heard by the Supreme Court.
Depending on the gravity of the violation, the High Court of the Republic may impose any of the following sanctions against the political organization found guilty of the violation without prejudice to criminal prosecution:
1. formal warning;
2. suspension of activities for a period not exceeding two years;
3. suspension of activities for the whole Parliamentary term;
In the event that the final decision of the court of last instance is
the sanction of dissolution of a political organization, the Members of
the Chamber of Deputies elected on the ticket of the dissolved political
organization shall automatically lose their parliamentary seats.
By-elections are held to replace Deputies of the dissolved political organization if the remaining period of their mandate is more than one (1) year.
Without prejudice to the independence of each political organization and their collaboration, political organizations officially recognized in Rwanda shall organize themselves in a Forum of concertation.
The Forum is mainly responsible for:
1. facilitating exchange of ideas by political organizations on major issues facing the country;
2. consolidating national unity;
3. advising on national policy;
4. acting as mediators in conflicts arising between political organizations;
5. assisting in resolving internal conflicts within a political organization upon request by that political organization. The forum’s decisions shall always be taken by the consensus of the constituent organizations.
Political organizations which are duly registered shall be given grants by the State.
An organic law shall define the modalities for the establishment of political organizations, their functioning, the conduct of their leaders, the manner in which they shall receive state grants as well as the organization and functioning of the Forum of concertation.
The President of the Republic and the President of the Chamber of Deputies shall belong to different political organizations.
Judges, prosecutors as well as members of the armed forces, police and as well as National Security Service cannot be members of political organizations.
The other public agents of public administration, of public enterprises and parastatal (para-étatiques) organizations may join political organizations but shall not be permitted to take up senior leadership positions of political organizations as specified by an organic law.
CHAPTER I: GENERAL PROVISIONS
The powers of the State are the following:
1. the legislative power;
2. the executive power;
3. the judicial power.
The three powers are separate and independent from one another but are all complementary. Their responsibilities, organization and functioning are defined in this Constitution.
The State shall ensure that the exercise of legislative, executive and judicial powers is exercised by people who possess the competence and integrity required to fulfill the respective responsibilities accorded to the three powers.
Before taking office, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the Prime Minister, the President of Supreme Court, ministers, ministers of state and other members of Government, senators, deputies, officers of the rank of General and senior officers of Rwanda Defense Forces, commissioners and senior officers of the National Police, the Vice-President and judges of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General of the Republic, the Deputy Prosecutor General and such other persons as may be determined by law shall take oath in these words:
“I, ..............................................., solemnly swear to the Nation that I shall:
1. diligently fulfill the functions entrusted to me;
2. remain loyal to the Republic of Rwanda;
3. observe the Constitution and the other laws;
4. work for the consolidation of national unity;
5. fulfill conscientiously my duties of representing the Rwandan people without any discrimination whatsoever;
6. never use the powers conferred on me for personal ends;
7. promote respect for the freedoms and fundamental rights of the human being and safeguard the interests of the
Should I fail to honor this oath, may I face the rigors of the law. So help me God.”
Section 1: Parliament
Sub-section 1: General Provisions
Legislative power is exercised by a Parliament consisting of two Chambers:
1. the Chamber of Deputies, whose members have the title of Deputies;
2. the Senate, whose members shall have the title of Senators.
Parliament elaborates and votes laws. It legislates and controls the action of Government in accordance with the conditions defined by this Constitution.
In the event of an absolute impossibility of Parliament holding a session, the President of the Republic during such a period promulgates decree-laws adopted by the Government and those decree-laws have the same effect as ordinary laws.
These decree-laws lose their obligatory force, if they are not adopted by Parliament at its next session.
Every Member of Parliament represents the whole Nation and not just those who elected or nominated him or the political organization on whose ticket he stood for election.
Any imperative mandate is null and void.
The right of vote of a Member of Parliament is personal.
Before taking office, Members of Parliament shall take oath before the President of the Republic and, in case of his absence, before the President of the Supreme Court.
The first sitting of Parliament shall be convened and presided over by the President of the Republic within fifteen (15) days of the publication of the election results.
On commencement of each term of the legislature, the first sitting shall be devoted to the taking of the oath of office of members of Parliament and the election of the Bureau of each Chamber.
The election of the Bureau of each Chamber shall be presided over by the President of the Republic.
The Bureau of each Chamber of Parliament is made up of the President and two Vice-Presidents and the Speaker and two Deputy Speakers respectively. Their duties are specified in a law establishing the internal regulations of each Chamber.
The quorum required for each Chamber of Parliament is at least three-fifths (3/5) of its members. The sittings of each Chamber of Parliament are public.
However, each Chamber may decide, by absolute majority of the members present, to sit in camera at the request of either the President of the Republic, the President of Senate or the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies or a quarter of the members of either Chamber or the Prime Minister.
The Chambers of Parliament shall hold their sessions in the Capital [City], each at its respective Chambers designated for the purpose except in cases of force majeure confirmed by the Supreme Court upon request by the President of the Chamber concerned. In the event that the Supreme Court itself is unable to hold its session, the President of the Republic shall determine by decree-law the place where the Parliament shall hold its session.
Decisions taken in sessions in respect of which there has either been no convocation or no agenda has been distributed or which take place during periods outside the approved time of sessions or outside the designated Chambers are null and void, save as is provided in the preceding paragraph.
No one shall at the same time be a member of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
The office of a Parliamentarian shall not be compatible with being a member of the Government.
An organic law determines other offices which are incompatible with the office of a Parliamentarian.
The members of Parliament enjoy parliamentary immunity in the following manner:
1. no Member of Parliament may be prosecuted, pursued, arrested, detained or judged for any opinions expressed or votes made by him in the exercise of his functions;
2. during the session period, no Member of Parliament may be arrested for a crime or felony without the authorization of the Chamber to which he belongs;
3. when Parliament is not in session, no Member of Parliament may be arrested without the authorization of the Bureau of the Chamber to which he belongs, unless he or she is caught flagrante delicto committing a felony or the Bureau of the Chamber to which he belongs has previously authorized his prosecution or a court of law has passed a final verdict and sentence against him.
Any Member of Parliament convicted of a felony by a court of law of last instance is automatically stripped of his parliamentary seat by the Chamber to which he belongs, after confirmation by the Supreme Court.
Likewise, each Chamber of Parliament may, in its internal regulations, make provisions for serious misconduct as a consequence of which a member of that Chamber may be removed from office. In such a case, the decision to remove the member from office shall be taken by a majority of three-fifths (3/5) of the members of the Chamber concerned.
Ordinary sessions of both Chambers of Parliament shall take place on the same dates.
However, the sittings of each of the Chambers as well as the extraordinary sessions shall be held according to each Chamber’s internal regulations.
The two Chambers of Parliament cannot meet in joint session save in cases of debate on issues in respect of which the Constitution mandates a joint session or formal ceremonies specified by law or other public ceremonies.
When Parliament meets in joint session, the meeting shall be chaired by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and in his absence, by the President of the Senate.
The Chambers of Parliament shall hold three ordinary sessions of two months each.
1. the first session shall commence on February 5th;
2. the second session shall commence on June 5th;
3. the third session shall commence on October 5th.
Where the commencement date of a session falls on a non-working day, the opening of the session shall be postponed to the following day; or, if the following day is a holiday, to the next working day.
Each Chamber of Parliament meets in an extraordinary session upon convocation by its President or Speaker, as the case may be, after consultation with other members of the Bureau or upon the request of the President of the Republic on the proposal of the Government or of a quarter of members of the Chamber.
An extraordinary joint session of Parliament may be convened by common agreement between the Presidents of both Chambers, or at the request of the President of the Republic or that of one quarter (1/4) of the members of each Chamber.
The extraordinary session deals only with the issues for which it has been convened and which have previously been brought to the notice of members of the Chamber or the Parliament before commencement of the session.
The session shall close upon conclusion of consideration of matters on the agenda for which the session was convened. An extraordinary session may not exceed fifteen (15) days.
Each Chamber of Parliament adopts an organic law establishing its internal regulations. Such organic law shall determine in particular:
1. the powers and prerogatives of the Bureau of each Chamber;
2. the number, attributions, competences and the manner of appointment of standing committees (commissions permanentes), without prejudice to the right of each Chamber to establish committees;
3. the organization of the creative special temporary departments of each Chamber placed under the authority of a President assisted by two Vice-Presidents and a Secretary General;
4. the disciplinary regime of its members;
5. the different modes of voting, which are not expressly provided for by the Constitution.
Each Chamber of Parliament disposes over its own budget and shall enjoy financial and administrative autonomy.
An organic law determines rules not provided for in this Constitution relating in particular to the requirements for the conduct of elections of the members of each Chamber of Parliament and the manner of replacing a member of Parliament who leaves office before the end of his or her term. It shall also determine the factors which render a candidate ineligible for election, activities which are incompatible with the office of Deputy or Senator and the remuneration and allowances (avantages matériels) of the members.
Sub-section 2: The Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies is composed of eighty (80) members as follows:
1. fifty-three (53) are elected in accordance with the provisions of Article 77 of this Constitution;
2. twenty-four (24) women; that is: two from each Province and the City of Kigali. These shall be elected by a joint assembly composed of members of the respective District, Municipality, Town or Kigali City Councils and members of the Executive Committees of women’s organizations at the Province, Kigali City, District, Municipalities, Towns and Sector levels;
3. two (2) members elected by the National Youth Council;
4. one (1) member elected by the Federation of the Associations of the Disabled.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 76 of this Constitution, the members of the Chamber of Deputies shall be elected for a five-year (5) term by direct universal suffrage through a secret ballot using a system of proportional representation.
The seats which remain after allocation of seats by dividing votes received by the electoral quotient shall be distributed to political organizations according to the system of the highest surplus.
The list shall be compiled in full respect of the principle of national unity as stipulated in Articles 9 and 54 of this Constitution and the principle of gender equality in matters relating to elective offices as stipulated in Article 54 of the Constitution.
Candidates may present themselves through a political organization or may stand independently.
A political organization or list of independent candidates which fails to attain at least five per cent (5%) of the votes cast at the national level during legislative elections cannot be represented in the Chamber of Deputies or benefit from grants provided to political organizations by the State.
Any deputy who, during his mandate, either resigns from his political organization or resigns from the Chamber of Deputies or is expelled from the political organization to which he or she belongs in accordance with provisions of the organic law governing political organizations or joins another political organization, shall automatically lose his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
Disputes relating to decisions taken in accordance with the proceeding paragraph are adjudicated by the High Court of the Republic in the first instance and by the Supreme Court in the second and the last instance.
In the event of an appeal, the execution of the decision of the Court of first instance is stayed until the Supreme Court rules on the appeal.
In the event of a Deputy losing or being removed from office when his term still has more than one (1) year to go, the seat vacated by the Deputy shall be assigned (dévolu) to the person who was next on the list on which he was elected.
Candidates who are elected by means other than through lists of political organizations who lose or are removed from office [as parliamentarians] are replaced through fresh elections.
Every year, the Chamber of Deputies shall adopt the finance law. It shall receive the finance bill before the opening of the Budget session.
The Chamber of Deputies shall examine the Budget for the next financial year on the basis of the budget implementation report for the current year presented to it by the Government.
Every budgetary year and before June 30th of the following year, the Government shall submit to the Chamber of Deputies a finance bill for the concerned budgetary year with a report on the implementation of the budget certified by the Auditor General of State Finances.
The Government must present a report on the implementation of the budget to the Auditor General of State Finances not later than March 31st of the following budgetary year.
The finance law determines the State revenue and expenditure of the State in accordance with conditions provided for by an organic law.
Before the final adoption of the Budget, the President of the Chamber of Deputies seeks the opinion of the Senate on the finance bill.
In the event that the Finance bill is not voted and promulgated before commencement of a financial year, the Prime Minister authorizes by an order a monthly expenditure on a provisional basis of an amount equal to one-twelfth of the budget of the preceding year.
No taxation can be imposed, modified or suppressed except by law.
No exemption from or reduction of tax may be granted unless authorized by law.
The Chamber of Deputies may, upon request by the Government and after adoption of a law relating to certain rates of taxes and duties by an organic law, authorize its immediate application.
Sub-section 3: The Senate
The Senate is composed of twenty-six (26) members serving for a term of eight (8) years and at least thirty per cent (30%) of whom are women. In addition, the former Heads of State become members of the Senate upon their request as provided for in paragraph 4 of this article.
These twenty-six (26) members are elected or appointed as follows:
1. twelve (12) members representing each Province and the City of Kigali are elected through secret ballot by members of the Executive Committees of Sectors and District, Municipality, Town or City Councils of each Province and the City of Kigali;
2. eight (8) members appointed by the President of the Republic who shall ensure the representation of historically marginalized (plus défavorisée) communities;
3. four (4) members designated by the Forum of Political organizations’;
4. one (1) university lecturer of at least the academic rank of Associate Professor elected by the academic and research staff of public universities and institutions of higher learning;
5. one (1) university lecturer of at least the rank of Associate Professor elected by the academic and research staff of private universities and institutions of higher learning.
The organs responsible for the nomination of Senators shall take into account national unity and equal representation of both sexes.
Former Heads of State who honorably completed their terms or voluntarily resigned from office become members of the Senate by submitting a request to the Supreme Court.
Dispute relating to the application of Article 82 and 83 of this Constitution which may arise, shall be adjudicated by the Supreme Court.
Members of the Senate must be citizens of impeccable character possessing the qualities of “inararibonye” who are elected or appointed objectively on the basis of individual merit without regard to political affiliation. They shall be highly skilled in the fields of science, law, economics, politics, sociology, culture or be persons who have held senior positions in the public or private sectors.
A candidate for the Senate must fulfill the following requirements:
1. satisfaction of the criteria specified in Article 82 of this Constitution;
2. being an inararibonye;
3. having irreproachable morals and great probity;
4. enjoying all civil and political rights;
5. being at least forty (40) years old;
6. not having been sentenced irrevocably by a court of last instance to a term of imprisonment of six (6) months or more in respect of which there has been no amnesty or rehabilitation.
With the exception of former Heads of State who become members of the Senate in accordance with Article 82 of this Constitution, members of the Senate serve a term of eight (8) years which is not renewable.
Without prejudice to Article 197 of this Constitution, nominations of candidates for the Senate to be elected by the District, Municipality, Town and City Councils and the Executive Committees of Sectors in Provinces and the City of Kigali must be filed with the Supreme Court at least thirty (30) days before the elections.
The Supreme Court verifies if the candidates fulfill the required conditions, rules on and publishes the list of candidates within a period not exceeding eight (8) days from the date on which it received the nominations. Elections are conducted in accordance with the procedure determined by the electoral law.
With respect to Senators who are appointed, the organs responsible for the nomination of designated Senator submit the names of the candidates to the Supreme Court, which verifies whether they fulfil the required conditions and rules on and publishes the list of appointed Senators within eight (8) days.
Senators appointed by the President of the Republic are nominated last
to enable the President to take into account the principle of national
unity among Rwandans.
In the event that some of the candidates are not approved by the Supreme Court, the organs responsible for the nomination may, within a period not exceeding seven (7) days from the date of publication of the list complete the number provided for.
With regard to Senators elected by the Executive Committees of Sectors, District, Municipality, Town and City Councils, a candidate to be elected must receive an absolute majority of the votes cast during the first round or failing, that a simple majority in the second round which must be organized immediately after the first round.
In the event of an elected Senator’s resignation, death, impeachment by a court of law or permanent absence from the Senate on account of any reason when his term has a year or more to run, fresh elections are held. In the case of an appointed Senator, the organ which appointed him shall determine his replacement.
The Senate has the special task to supervise the application of the principles referred to in Articles 9 and 54 of this Constitution.
In legislative matters, the Senate is competent to vote on:
1. laws relating to the amendment of the Constitution;
2. organic laws;
3. laws relating to the establishment, modification, functioning and dissolution of state institutions and parastatal organizations and the organization of the territory;
4. laws relating to fundamental freedoms, rights and duties of the person;
5. criminal laws and laws relating to the organization, jurisdiction of courts and procedure in criminal cases;
6. laws relating to defense and security;
7. laws relating to elections and referenda;
8. laws relating to international agreements and treaties. The Senate is also competent to:
1. elect the President, the Vice-President and Judges of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General of the Republic and his deputy;
2. approve the appointment of the Chairpersons (dirigeants) and members of National Commissions, the Ombudsman and his deputies, the Auditor General of State Finances and his Deputy, Ambassadors and Representatives to international organizations, Provincial Prefects and heads of state and parastatal organisms which have juridical personality;
3. approve, where necessary, the appointment of such other public officials as may be required and determined by an organic law.
The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies shall, without undue delay, transmit to the President of the Senate bills adopted by the Chamber of Deputies relating to matters provided for in Article 88 of this Constitution.
Likewise, the Government shall transmit to the Senate draft orders relating to the appointment of the public officers referred to in Article 88 of this Constitution for approval prior to signature.
Section 2: Initiation and adoption of laws
The right to initiate legislation and to amend laws belongs concurrently to every Deputy and the Executive acting through the Government.
Bills and amendments which have the result of reducing Government revenue or increase State expenditure must indicate proposals for raising the required revenue or making savings equivalent to the anticipated expenditure.
Bills determined by the plenary session to have a sound basis shall first be transmitted to the relevant committee of the Chamber of Deputies for examination prior to their consideration and adoption in the plenary session.
The law is sovereign in all matters.
Organic laws govern all matters reserved for them by this Constitution as well as matters the laws in respect of which require related special laws.
An organic law may not contradict the Constitution. Neither may an ordinary law or decree-law contradict an organic law and a decree may not contradict an ordinary law.
In voting upon a bill, there must be a separate vote on each article as well as a vote on the entire bill.
A vote on the entire law is conducted by calling each parliamentarian by name and the parliamentarian votes by replying in a loud voice.
Organic laws shall be passed by a majority vote of three-fifths (3/5) of the members present in each Chamber. The procedures for voting are determined by a law on the internal regulations of each Chamber.
A petition for consideration of a bill or any other matter on an urgent basis may be made by either a Member of Parliament or by the Government to the concerned Chamber.
When such a petition is made by a Member of Parliament (Parlamentaire), the [relevant] Chamber decides the urgency. When the petition is made by the Government, the request is always granted.
Upon a decision confirming the urgency, the bill or matter is considered before any other matters on the agenda.
With the exception of the organic law on the internal regulations of the Senate, bills on matters in respect of which the Senate is competent to legislate are transmitted to the Senate after adoption by the Chamber of Deputies.
In the event that the Senate does not approve a bill transmitted to it or amendments proposed by the Senate are not acceptable to the Chamber of Deputies, both Chambers set up a commission composed of an equal number of Deputies and Senators which make proposals on matters still being debated.
The Commission informs the two Chambers of the compromise reached and the Chambers decide on it.
In the event that the compromise decision is not adopted by both Chambers, the bill is returned to the initiator.
The authentic interpretation of laws belongs to both Chambers of Parliament acting jointly after the Supreme Court has given an opinion on the matter; each Chamber shall decide on the basis of the majority referred to in Article 93 of this Constitution.
The authentic interpretation of the laws may be requested by the
Government, a member of one of the Chambers of Parliament or by the Bar
Association (l’Ordre des Avocats).
Any interested person may request the authentic interpretation of laws through the members of Parliament or the Bar Association.
CHAPTER III: THE EXECUTIVE
The Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government.
Section 1: The President of the Republic
The President of the Republic is the Head of State.
He is the guardian of the Constitution and guarantor of national unity.
He guarantees the continuity of the State, the independence and territorial integrity of the country and respect of international treaties and agreements.
The President of the Republic has the right to address the Nation.
A candidate for the office of the Presidency of the Republic must:
1. be of Rwandan nationality by origin;
2. not hold any other nationality;
3. have at least one parent of the Rwandan nationality by origin;
4. have irreproachable morals and probity;
5. not have been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six (6) months or more;
6. not have been deprived of his or her civil and political rights;
7. be at least thirty-five (35) years old on the date of submission of his or her candidacy;
8. be resident in Rwanda at the time of submission of his candidacy.
The election of the President of the Republic shall be by universal suffrage through a direct and secret ballot with a simple majority of the votes cast.
The Supreme Court proclaims the final results of the election.
The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven (7) years renewable only once.
Under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of President of Republic for more than two terms.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 196 of this Constitution, elections for President are held not less than thirty (30) days and not more than sixty (60) days before the expiration of the term of the incumbent President.
An organic law shall determine the procedure concerning the presentation of the candidates for presidential elections, the conduct of the election, the counting of ballots, the modalities of resolving election disputes and the declaration of the results and the time within which the results shall be declared and other matters which are necessary to ensure that elections are conducted in transparency.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 196 of this Constitution, before assuming the duties of office, the President of the Republic takes the oath of office before the President of the Supreme Court in the presence of both Chambers of Parliament in these words:
“I, ..............................................., solemnly swear to the Nation that I shall:
1. diligently fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to me;
2. remain loyal to the Republic of Rwanda;
3. observe and defend the Constitution and the other laws;
4. preserve peace, territorial integrity and consolidate national unity;
5. conscientiously fulfill my duties without any discrimination;
6. never use the powers conferred upon me for personal ends;
7. guarantee the respect of the freedoms and fundamental rights of the human being and safeguard the interests of the
Should I fail to honor this oath, may I face the rigors of law. So help me God.”
The incumbent President of the Republic remains in office until his successor assumes office. However, the incumbent President cannot, during this period, exercise the following powers:
1. declare war;
2. declare a state of emergency or a state of siege;
3. initiate a referendum.
In addition, the Constitution cannot be amended during this period.
In the event that the duly elected President of the Republic dies or is on account of any reason permanently impeded or otherwise chooses not to assume the office, new elections are held.
The office of the President of the Republic is incompatible with the holding of any other elective public office, public function or any other civil or military employment or professional activity.
In the event of the death, resignation or definitive incapacity of the President of the Republic, the functions of the President are exercised by the President of the Senate; in the absence of the President of the Senate, by the President of the Chamber of Deputies and in the absence of both, the Presidency is assured by the Prime Minister.
The person who exercises the functions of the President of the Republic under the terms of this article cannot make appointments to public office, call a referendum, initiate an amendment to the Constitution, exercise the right of mercy or declare war.
In the event that the office of the President of the Republic becomes vacant before the expiry of the President’s term, elections to replace him must be organized within a period not exceeding ninety (90) days.
In the case the President of the Republic is out of the country, sick or temporarily unable to perform his duties, his duties are assumed by the Prime Minister.
The President of the Republic promulgates laws within fifteen (15) days from the day on which the adopted definitive text is delivered to the Government.
However, the President of the Republic may before promulgation of laws request Parliament to proceed to a second reading (lecture).
In such a case, if Parliament adopts the same laws, a majority of two-thirds (2/3) in the case of ordinary laws, and in the case of the organic laws, a majority of three-quarters (3/4), the President of the Republic must promulgate the laws within the period referred to in paragraph 1 of this article.
Upon the proposal of the Government and after receiving an advisory opinion of the Supreme Court, the President of the Republic may call a referendum on issues of general national interest, on a bill of an ordinary law, on a bill of an organic law or decree relating to the signature of an international treaty or agreement without being inconsistent with the Constitution but has impacts (incidences) on the functioning of the institutions.
If the project is adopted by referendum, the President of the Republic promulgates the law within a period of eight (8) days as from the time of proclamation of the results of the referendum.
The President of the Republic is the Commander-in-Chief of the Rwanda Defense Forces. He declares war in accordance with the provisions of Article 136 of this Constitution.
He signs armistice and peace agreements.
He declares a state of siege and a state of emergency (urgence) in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law.
The President of the Republic has authority to exercise the prerogative (droit) of mercy in accordance with the procedure determined by law and after consulting the Supreme Court.
He has authority to mint money in accordance with procedures determined by the law.
The President of the Republic signs presidential orders adopted in the Council Ministers and Government, countersigned by the Prime Minister, Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Government responsible for their implementation.
He makes appointments of senior public service and military offices as determined by the Constitution and the laws.
The President of the Republic signs Presidential orders deliberated in the Council of Ministers concerning:
1. the prerogative (droit) of mercy;
2. the minting of money;
3. award of National Orders;
4. implementation of laws when it is his responsibility;
5. the promotion and appointment of:
a) officers of the rank of General of the Rwanda Defense Forces;
b) senior officers of the Rwanda Defense Forces;
c) commissioners of the National Police;
d) senior officers of the National Police.
6. appointment and termination of functions of the following senior public servants:
a) the President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court;
b) the Prosecutor-General of the Republic and his Deputy;
c) the Director of the Cabinet in the Office of the President of the Republic;
d) the Chancellor of National Orders;
e) the Governor of the Central Bank;
f) the Rectors of public universities and institutions of higher learning;
g) the Prefects of the Provinces;
h) the head of the National Security Service and his deputy;
i) the Commissioners of the Commissions and heads of specialized institutions provided for by the Constitution;
j) the Principal Private Secretary to the President of the Republic;
k) the Advisors in the Office of the President of the Republic;
l) the Ambassadors and the permanent representatives to international organizations;
m) the other high functionaries, determined by the law and need.
The President of the Republic represents the State of Rwanda in its relations with foreign countries and may appoint persons to represent him.
The President of the Republic accredits Ambassadors and Special Envoys to foreign states.
Ambassadors accredited to Rwanda and Special Envoys present their Credentials to the President of the Republic.
An organic law determines the benefits accorded to the President of the Republic and to former Heads of State. However, if a President of the Republic has been convicted of high treason or grave and deliberate violations of the Constitution, he is not entitled to any benefit due to the cessation of functions.
Section 2: The Government
The Government is composed of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Ministers of State and other members who may be determined, if necessary, by the President of the Republic.
The Prime Minister is chosen, appointed and removed from office by the President of the Republic.
Other members of Government are appointed and removed from office by the President of the Republic upon proposal of the Prime Minister.
The members of Government are selected from political organizations on the basis of their seats in the Chamber of Deputies without excluding the possibility of appointing to Government other competent people who do not belong to any political organizations.
However, a political organization holding the majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies may not exceed fifty per cent (50%) of all the members of the Government.
The President of the Republic receives the resignation of the Government tendered by the Prime Minister.
The Government implements national policy agreed upon by the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers. The Government is accountable to the President of the Republic and to the Parliament in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The Prime Minister:
1. directs the action of the Government in accordance with broad guidelines set by the President of the Republic and ensures the implementation of the laws;
2. formulates the Government program in consultation with other members of the Government;
3. presents the Government program to the Parliament within thirty (30) days of assuming office;
4. assigns duties to the Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Government;
5. convenes the Council of Ministers, draws up the agenda in consultation with other members of the Government and communicates it to the President of the Republic and other members of the Government at least three (3) days before the meeting, except in matters of urgency which are considered by extraordinary meetings of the Government;
6. presides over the Council of Ministers. However, when the President of the Republic is in attendance, he presides;
7. countersigns laws enacted by the Parliament and promulgated by the President of the Republic;
8. appoints civil and military officers with the exception of those appointed by the President of the Republic;
9. signs orders in respect of the appointment and promotion of junior officers of Rwanda Defense Forces and the National Police;
10. sign orders of the Prime Minister relating to the appointment and termination of service of the following high functionaries:
a) the Director of Cabinet in the Prime Minister’s Office; b) the
Secretary General in the Prime Minister’s office; c) the Vice-Governors
of the Central Bank;
d) the Vice-Rectors of public universities and institutions of higher learning;
e) Executive Secretaries of commissions and provinces;
f) Advisors and heads of services in the Office of the Prime Minister;
g) Secretaries General of the Ministries;
h) Directors and other senior officers of public enterprises;
i) members of the Boards of Directors of public enterprises and parastatal organizations;
j) Directors and Heads of Divisions in Ministries and Provinces;
k) Prosecutors at the National and Provincial levels as well as those of the City of Kigali;
l) such other senior public servants as may be specified by a law; Other public servants are appointed in accordance with specific laws.
Orders of the Prime Minister are countersigned by the Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Government responsible for their implementation.
Ministers, Secretaries of State and other members of Government implement laws relating to matters for which they are responsible by way of orders (arrêtés).
The Council of Ministers functions on the basis of collective Government responsibility.
An order of the President determines the functioning, membership and decision-making of the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers deliberates on:
1. bills and draft decree-laws;
2. drafts of orders of the President, the Prime Minister and Ministers;
3. any other matters of competence or terms of the Constitution and the laws.
A Presidential order shall determine certain Ministerial orders which are not adopted by the Council of Ministers.
The functions of a member of the Government are incompatible with any other professional activity or membership of Parliament.
A law determines the remuneration and other benefits accorded to members of the Government.
Before assuming their functions, the Prime Minister, Ministers, Ministers of state and other members of Government shall take oath before the President of the Republic, Parliament and the Supreme Court.
The resignation or cessation of the functions of the Prime Minister leads to resignation of other members of the Government.
The President of the Republic receives the resignation of the Government when it is submitted by the Prime Minister. During such period, the Government only deals with routine business until a new Government is appointed.
Each Minister, Minister of State or other member of the Government may individually tender his resignation to the President of the Republic through the intermediary Prime Minister.
The resignation becomes effective if, within a period of five (5) days, it is not withdrawn by the member of Government concerned and the President of the Republic has indicted his agreement.
Section 3: Public Administration
Public servants (agents de l’Etat) are recruited, posted and promoted in conformity with the principle of equality of citizens, through an objective, impartial and transparent system on the basis of the competence and the capacities of applicants of both sexes.
The State guarantees the impartiality of the administration, the Rwanda Defense Forces, the National Police and the National Security Service, which must in all circumstances, ensures impartiality and serves all citizens.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE LEGISLATIVE AND THE EXECUTIVE POWERS
The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister shall be informed of the agenda of the sessions of each Chamber of Parliament and of its Committees.
The Prime Minister and other members of the Government may attend the sessions of each Chamber of Parliament if they so wish. They may take the floor whenever they request to do so.
They may, if necessary, be accompanied by technical advisers of their choice.
Such technical advisers may only take part in deliberations in Standing Committees.
The following methods of the Chamber of Deputies to obtain information and exercise control of activities of the government are:
1. oral questions;
2. written questions;
3. hearings before Committees (Commission);
4. the Commissions of inquiry;
An organic law shall determine the procedures by which Parliament obtains information and exercises control of government action.
In the context of obtaining information and exercising oversight of government action, members of the Senate may address oral or written questions to the Prime Minister to which he shall either respond in person if the questions relate to the government as a whole or to several Ministries collectively or through the Ministers who are responsible for the matters in question.
The Senate may, in addition, set up commissions of inquiry for oversight of government action. However, it may not conduct interpellation or initiate a motion of censure.
The Chamber of Deputies may put the performance of Government or of one or several members into question through a vote of censure.
A motion of censure is not receivable except after interpellation and only on condition that the motion is signed by at least a fifth (1/5) of the members of the Chamber of Deputies in the case against one member of the Government, or by at least a third (1/3) of the members of the Chamber of Deputies if it concerns the entire Government.
A motion of censure cannot be voted upon prior to the expiry of at least forty-eight (48) hours after its introduction and it shall be adopted through a secret ballot by a majority of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Chamber of Deputies.
The conclusion of ordinary or extraordinary sessions is by right postponed to ensure the application of the provisions of this article.
A member of the Government against whom a vote of censure is passed must tender his resignation to the President of the Republic through the Prime Minister.
When the vote of censure is passed against the Government, the Prime Minister tenders the resignation of the Government to the President of the Republic.
If a motion of censure is rejected, signatories to the motion cannot introduce another motion for a vote of censure during the same session.
The Prime Minister may, upon the proposal of the Government, request the Chamber of Deputies to pass a motion on a vote of confidence either in respect of the Government program or the adoption of the text of a bill.
The debate on the request for a vote of confidence may not take place prior to the expiry of at least three (3) full days from the time the request was submitted.
A vote on the motion of confidence may only be rejected through a secret ballot by a majority of two-thirds of the members to the Chamber of Deputies.
If the confidence is refused, the Prime Minister submits the resignation of the Government to the President of the Republic, within twenty-four (24) hours.
The President of the Republic, after consultation with the Prime Minister, the Presidents of the two Chambers of Parliament and the President of the Supreme Court, may dissolve the Chamber of Deputies. Elections of Deputies take place within ninety (90) days after the dissolution.
The President of the Republic cannot dissolve the Chamber of Deputies more than once in the same presidential term of office.
The Senate cannot be dissolved.
The Prime Minister must inform the Chambers of Parliament of the government activity as regularly as possible.
The Prime Minister communicates decisions of the Council of Ministers and supporting documents to the Bureau of each Chamber of Parliament within a period of not more than eight (8) days from the date of the meeting of the Government.
Moreover, during the session period, one sitting each week is reserved for questions by members of Parliament addressed to members of Government and responses by the Government.
The Government is obligated to provide the Chambers of Parliament with all necessary explanations on questions put to the Government concerning its management and activities.
The President of the Republic may address the Chambers of Parliament together or separately, either in person or by a message read on his behalf by the Prime Minister. This message is not debated.
If Parliament is not in session, one of its Chambers is convened specially for the purpose.
The President of the Republic has the right to declare war and inform the Parliament within seven (7) days. Parliament votes on the declaration of war by a simple majority of the members of each Chamber.
A state of emergency and a state of siege are governed by the law and declared by the President of the Republic, following a decision of the Council of Ministers.
A declaration of state of siege or state of emergency must give clear reasons which justify it, must specify the part of national territory to which it applies and its consequences, must indicate the rights, freedoms and guarantees provided by law which are suspended and the duration of the state of siege or state of emergency which may not exceed a period of fifteen (15) days.
The state of siege or the state of emergency cannot be extended beyond a period of fifteen (15) days without the approval of Parliament, which approval requires a majority of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of each Chamber.
In wartime, when a state of siege or a state of emergency has been declared, the duration of the state of siege may by law be extended beyond the period provided for in the preceding paragraph.
The duration of a state of siege must not exceed the period strictly necessary to ensure the rapid return to a normal democratic situation.
A declaration of a state of siege or of a state of emergency (urgence) cannot under any circumstances violate the right to life and physical integrity of the person, the rights accorded to people by law in relation to their status, capacity and nationality, the principle of non-retroactivity of criminal law, the right to legal defense and freedom of conscience and religion.
A declaration of a state of siege or of a state of emergency shall not under any circumstance affect the powers of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, Parliament or the Supreme Court nor can it modify the principles relating to the responsibility of the State and of public officials provided for in this Constitution.
No elections of any kind may be held during or within a period of less than thirty (30) days after the state of siege or state of emergency.
A state of siege cannot be declared on the entire or a part of the national territory unless the country has suffered or is about to suffer aggression by foreign forces, or faces grave dangers or in the case of destabilization of the institutions established by this Constitution.
A state of emergency shall be declared on the entirety or part of the national territory when the country faces a public disaster or constitutional crisis whose gravity does not justify the declaration of a state of siege.
During the period of a state of siege or a state of emergency, the Chamber of Deputies cannot be dissolved and the Chambers of Parliament shall be recalled immediately if they are in recess.
If, at the time of a declaration of a state of siege or of a state of emergency, the Chamber of Deputies has previously been dissolved or its term has expired, the powers of Parliament relating to a state of siege or a state of emergency shall be exercised by the Senate.
THE JUDICIAL POWER
Section 1: General Provisions
Judicial Power is exercised by the Supreme Court and other courts established by the Constitution and other laws. The Judiciary is independent and separated from the legislative power and the executive power.
It enjoys financial and administrative autonomy.
Justice is rendered in the name of the people. Nobody may be a judge in his own cause.
Judicial decisions are binding on all parties concerned, be they public authorities or individuals. They cannot be challenged except through ways and procedures determined by law.
Court proceedings are conducted in public unless a court determines that the proceedings should be in camera on the ground that a public hearing might have an adverse effect on general public order or would offend public morals.
Every court decision shall indicate the grounds on which it is based, be written in its entirety and shall be delivered in open court.
Courts apply orders and regulations only where they are not inconsistent with the Constitution and other laws.
Without prejudice to the principle of equality of litigants before the law, an organic law relating to organization and jurisdiction of courts shall determine the institution of a single judge in ordinary courts in first instance with the exception of the Supreme Court. The same organic law shall provide for the modalities of the application of the provisions of this paragraph.
Unless the law provides otherwise, judges confirmed in office are irremovable; they cannot be suspended, transferred, even if it is for the purposes of promotion, retired prematurely or otherwise removed from office.
In the exercise of their functions, judges follow the law and only the law.
The law on the status of judges and other judicial personnel shall determine the remuneration and other benefits due to them.
Section 2: On Jurisdictions
Ordinary jurisdictions and specialized jurisdictions are hereby established.
Ordinary jurisdictions are the Supreme Court, the High Court of the Republic, the Provincial Courts (Tribunaux de Province) and the Court of the City of Kigali, the District Courts (Tribunaux de District) and the Municipality and Town courts.
Specialized jurisdictions are the Gacaca jurisdictions and the Military jurisdictions. An organic law may establish other specialized jurisdictions.
With the exception of the Supreme Court, ordinary jurisdictions may have specialized or itinerant chambers established by an order of the President of the Supreme Court upon proposal of the Supreme Council of the Magistrature.
The Courts and Tribunals may sit in any locality within the limits of their territorial jurisdiction if the efficient administration of justice so requires and this does not prejudice the normal business of the courts at their permanent seats
However, no exceptional courts may be created.
An organic law shall determine the organization, jurisdiction and the functioning of Courts and Tribunals.
Sub-section 1: Ordinary Jurisdictions
A. The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the highest jurisdiction in the country. The decisions of the Supreme Court are not susceptible to appeal except in terms of petitions for the exercise of the matter of mercy or revision. Its decisions are binding on all parties concerned whether such are organs of public powers, all administrative civil, military, judicial authorities or private individuals.
The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is provided for in this Constitution and other laws and includes, in particular:
1. hearing appeals against decisions of the High Court of the Republic and the Military High Court rendered in their first or appellate degrees under conditions specified by the law;
2. ensuring that Courts act in accordance with the law, coordinating and supervising their activities;
3. controlling the constitutionality of organic laws and laws establishing the internal regulations of each Chamber of Parliament before their promulgation;
4. upon the demand of the President of the Republic, the President and Speaker of the Chambers of Parliament or one-fifth (1/5) of the members of the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, the Supreme Court examines whether international treaties and agreements and laws are not inconsistent with the Constitution and issues an advisory opinion before the competent organs to make a decision;
5. hearing petitions on the constitutionality of laws and decree-laws;
6. resolving on demand, disputes relating to attributions arising between different state organs;
7. judging election disputes relating to referendum, presidential and legislative elections;
8. judging in the first and last instance criminal cases against the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister;
9. administering the oath of office taken by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister before assumption of their duties;
10. trying the President of the Republic on charges of high treason or grave and deliberate violation of the Constitution. In such case, the decision to file charges against the President of the Republic with the Supreme Court is taken through a vote of both Chambers of Parliament meeting in joint session, by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of members of each Chamber;
11. declaring the vacancy of the office of the President of the Republic in case of the President’s death, resignation or conviction and sentence for high treason or grave and deliberate violation of the Constitution;
12. on matters relating to the organization of the judiciary, the Supreme Court may propose to the Government a bill of any nature amending existing law conforming to public interest;
13. to provide authentic interpretation of custom (which is unwritten) and in respect of which the written law is silent. An organic law shall determine the organization and functioning of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is directed by a President, assisted by a Vice-President and twelve (12) other judges. They shall all be career judges.
An organic law, if necessary, may increase or reduce the number of Judges of the Supreme Court.
The President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court are elected by the Senate for a single term of eight (8) years by simple majority vote of members from two candidates in respect of each post proposed by the President of the Republic after consultation with the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Council of the Magistrature.
They are appointed by a Presidential order within eight (8) days of the vote of the Senate.
They must be holders of at least a Bachelor of Laws degree and have working experience of fifteen (15) years in the legal profession and proven ability of management at high-levels of institutions. Holders of doctoral degrees in law shall have at least seven (7) years of experience in the legal profession.
They may be removed from office on account of the lack of dignified behavior, incompetence or serious professional misconduct upon the petition of three-fifths (3/5) of either the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate and a two-thirds (2/3) absolute majority vote of each Chamber.
The President of the Republic, after consultation with the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Council of the Magistrature, shall submit to the Senate a list of candidates for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court. The list must have two candidates per post in respect of which there is an election. The candidates shall be elected by an absolute majority vote of the members of the Senate.
B. The High Court of the Republic
There is hereby established the High Court of the Republic whose territorial jurisdiction is the whole country.
It has jurisdiction to try in the first instance certain serious offences committed in Rwanda as well as some offences committed outside Rwanda as specified by the law.
It hears in the first instance cases relating to the violation of Articles 52, 53 and 54 of the Constitution committed by political organizations.
It also is competent to hear in the first instance certain cases involving administrative law, political organizations, elections and such other cases as an organic law may determine.
It also hears, as a court of last instance, appeals against decisions of lower courts as determined by law. It has specialized chambers which sit in different parts of the country as determined by law.
An organic law determines the organization, jurisdiction and functioning of the High Court of the Republic.
C. The Provincial Court (Tribunal de Province) of the City of Kigali
There is hereby established a Provincial Court (Tribunal de Province) in each Province of the country and a Court (Tribunal) of the City of Kigali.
An organic law determines the organization, competence and the functioning of Provincial Courts and the Court of the City of Kigali.
D. The Court of the District (Tribunal de District) and the Municipality
There is hereby established a Court (Tribunal) in every District and a Municipal Court in every Municipality. An organic law determines its organization, competence and functioning.
Sub-section 2: Specialized Courts
A. Gacaca Courts and the National Service for the follow-up of their activities
There is hereby established Gacaca Courts charged with the trial and judgment of cases against persons accused of the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity which were committed between October 1, 1990 and December 31, 1994 with the exception of cases whose competence is vested in other courts.
An organic law determines the organization, competence and functioning of these jurisdictions.
A law establishes a National Service charged with the follow-up, supervision and coordination of activities of the Gacaca Courts, which enjoy administrative and financial autonomy. This law also determines its attributions, organization and functioning.
B. Military Jurisdictions
The Military jurisdictions are composed of the Military Tribunal and the Military High Court.
An organic law determines the organization, jurisdiction and functioning of Military jurisdictions.
1. The Military Tribunal
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 155 paragraph one, the Military Court tries in the first instance all offenses committed by military personnel irrespective of their rank.
2. The Military High Court
The Military High Court shall try in the first instance, all offenses which constitute a threat to national security and murder committed by soldiers irrespective of rank.
The Military High Court is an appellate court with respect to decisions rendered by the Military Tribunal.
The Supreme Court shall hear appeals against decisions of the Military High Court in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Sub-section 3: Of the oath of office of judges
The President, Vice-President and the Judges of the Supreme Court take the oath of office before the President of the Republic in the presence of the members of Parliament.
The other Judges take the oath before authorities indicated by the law that governs them.
Section 3: The Superior Council of the Magistrature
There is established a Supreme Council of the Magistrature which has the following functions:
1. to examine and, either on its own initiative, or upon request by another organ, to give advice on matters relating to the functioning of the administration of justice;
2. to decide on the appointment, promotion or removal from office of judges and management of the career in general and discipline of judges with the exception of judges of the military courts and the President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court;
3. to advise on all proposals relating to the creation of a new court or bill governing the status of judges and other judicial personnel for whom it is responsible.
The President of the Supreme Court signs the orders of appointment, promotion and removal from office of judges and the personnel of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Council of the Magistrature is composed of the following:
1. the President of the Supreme Court, the chairperson of right;
2. the Vice-President of the Supreme Court;
3. a judge of the Supreme Court elected by his peers;
4. the President of the High Court of the Republic;
5. one Judge from each Provincial Court and the City of Kigali court elected by his peers;
6. one Judge of a District, Municipality or Town Court elected by his peers from the territorial jurisdiction of each Provincial Court and the Kigali City Court;
7. two deans of the Faculties of Law of recognized universities elected by their peers;
8. the President of the National Commission of Human Rights (Droits de la Personne);
9. the Ombudsman.
An organic law details the organization, the powers and the functioning of the Supreme Council of the Magistrature.
Section 4: The Mediators (Conciliateurs)
There is established in each Sector a “Mediation Committee” responsible for mediating between parties certain disputes involving matters determined by law prior to the filing of a case with the court of first instance.
The Mediation Committee is composed of twelve (12) residents of the Sector who are persons of integrity and are acknowledged for their mediating skills.
They are elected by the Executive Committee and Councils of Sectors from among persons who are not members of decentralized local government or judicial organs for a term of two (2) years which may be extended. Parties to a dispute shall choose three (3) of the mediators to whom they shall submit their case for mediation.
The Mediators shall record minutes of the terms of the proposed settlement of the case referred to them. Such minutes bear the signature of both the mediators and seal of the institution of mediators. The parties to the dispute are provided with a copy of the minutes.
Any party to the dispute who is dissatisfied with the settlement may refer the matter to the Courts of law. Such matter shall not be admissible by the court of first instance without prior production of the minutes of the settlement proposal of the mediators.
An organic law determines the organization, the competence and the functioning of the Mediation Committee.
THE PARQUET GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC
There is established a National Prosecution Service known as the Parquet Général of the Republic responsible especially for the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed on the national territory. It enjoys administrative and financial autonomy.
The prosecution service comprises the office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic and an office at the level of the Province and the City of Kigali.
The Office of the Prosecutor General is composed of the Prosecutor General, the Deputy Prosecutor General and Prosecutors with national competence.
The decentralized service in each Province and City of Kigali is composed of the Provincial Prosecutor and the Prosecutor of Kigali City and their assistants.
The Prosecutor General of the Republic directs and coordinates the activities of the prosecution service. With the assistance of the prosecutors in his office, he shall be responsible for prosecutions before the Supreme Court and the High Court of the Republic in accordance with provisions of the law.
He is represented in each province and the City of Kigali by a Provincial Prosecutor and a Prosecutor of the City of Kigali who, assisted by other prosecutors under them, shall be responsible for prosecutions before the Provincial courts and the City of Kigali courts.
The Prosecutor General of the Republic may give written instructions to any Prosecutor. However, he has no power to give instructions to a Prosecutor at the Province and City of Kigali levels to refrain from prosecuting any person and to defer the matter to himself.
The prosecution service is under the authority of the Minister having justice in his attributions.
In matters relating to the prosecution of offences, the Minister having justice in his attributions defines general policy and may, in the public interest, issue written instructions to the Prosecutor General to pursue or to refrain from investigations and prosecution of an offense with the reservation of providing a copy to the Prosecutor General.
He may also, in cases of urgency and in public interest, issue written instructions to any prosecutor to investigate and prosecute or refrain from investigating and prosecuting an offense and inform the Prosecutor General of the Republic of such instructions.
Prosecutors are independent from parties to judicial proceedings and judges.
An organic law determines the organization, the competence and the functioning of the Prosecution service and defines also the status of prosecutors and other personnel of the prosecution service.
MILITARY PROSECUTION DEPARTMENT
There is established the Military Prosecution Department responsible for the prosecution of offenses committed by persons subject to the jurisdiction of military courts. It investigates and prosecutes offenses before military courts.
The Military Prosecution Department is directed by the Military Prosecutor General assisted by the Deputy Military Prosecutor General.
An organic law determines the organization, the competence and the functioning of the Military Prosecution Department.
THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE PROSECUTION
There is instituted the Supreme Council of the Prosecution. The Supreme Council of the Prosecution is composed of the following members:
1. the Minister of Justice, [who is] the Chairperson as of right;
2. the Prosecutor General of the Republic;
3. the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic;
4. a National Prosecutor elected by his peers;
5. the Commissioner General of National Police;
6. the President of the National Commission of Human Rights;
7. the Military Prosecutor General and his deputy;
8. prosecutors from each province and the City of Kigali elected by and representing their peers at the Provincial and the City of Kigali level;
9. two Deans of the Faculties of Law of recognized universities elected by their peers;
10. the President (Bâtonnier) of the Bar Association;
11. the Ombudsman.
An organic law determines the organization, the competence and the functioning of the Supreme Council of the Prosecution Service.
The Prosecutor General of the Republic and the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic take the oath of office before the President of the Republic in the presence of the Members of Parliament.
Other prosecutors take oath before the authorities specified by the law.
THE DECENTRALIZED POWERS
The powers of the State are decentralized for the benefit of the local administrative entities in conformity to a law. These powers fall under the Ministry having local government in its functions (attributions).
The Districts, Municipalities, Towns and the City of Kigali are decentralized entities with juridical personality and administrative and financial autonomy and are the foundation of community development.
They may become members of national and international organizations which promote development through decentralization.
A law determines the creation, limits boundaries, the functioning of these decentralized entities and their relations with other organs which participate in the administration and development of the country. A law organizes the transfer of competences.
THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF DIALOGUE
There is established a “National Council of Dialogue.” It shall bring together the President of the Republic and five (5) representatives of each District, Municipality and Town Council designated by their peers. It shall be chaired by the President of the Republic and be attended by members of the Government and Parliament, the Prefects of Provinces and the Mayor of the City of Kigali and such other persons as may be designated by the President of the Republic.
The Council shall meet at least once a year. It shall debate, among others, on issues relating to the state of the Nation, the state of local governments and national unity.
Recommendations issued by the Council are transmitted to the concerned state institutions to enable them to improve their services to the population.
NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY
The State has the following security organs:
1. The National Police;
2. The National Security Service;
3. The Rwanda Defense Forces.
A law may determine other security organs.
THE NATIONAL POLICE
The National Police exercises its authority over the entire national territory. It must serve the people particularly on the basis of the following principles:
1. safeguarding the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the law;
2. cooperation between the National Police and the national community;
3. the responsibility of the National Police to the community;
4. keeping the population informed on the execution of its mission.
The National Police has the following functions (attributions):
1. ensuring respect for the law;
2. maintaining and reestablishing public order;
3. ensuring security of persons and their property;
4. providing urgent humanitarian assistance in case of disasters, calamities and accidents;
5. ensuring respect for the law relating to airspace, borders and waters;
6. combating terrorism;
7. participating in international peace keeping missions, humanitarian assistance and training. The law determines the organization, functioning and powers of the National Police.
THE NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE
There is established a National Security Service charged particularly with:
1. organizing and supervising intelligence inside and outside the country;
2. analyzing the impact of international problems on national security;
3. dealing with all issues relating to immigration and emigration;
4. advising the Government on all issues concerning national security.
A law determines the organization, the functioning and the competence of the National Security Service.
THE RWANDA DEFENSE FORCES
National defense is ensured by a professional army known as the “Rwanda Defense Forces.” It has the following missions:
1. to defend the territorial integrity and the national sovereignty of the Republic;
2. to participate in collaboration with other security organs in safeguarding public order and enforcement of the law;
3. to participate in humanitarian activities in case of disasters;
4. to contribute to the development of the country;
5. to participate in international peace keeping missions, humanitarian assistance and training. A law determines the organization and powers of the Rwanda Defense Forces.
The Chief of the General Staff shall be responsible for the operations and general administration of the Rwanda Defense Forces.
The State of Rwanda can proceed to demobilize members of the armed forces if deemed necessary or reduce the size of Rwanda Defense Forces.
A law determines the modalities.
SPECIAL COMMISSIONS AND ORGANS
Commissions and specialized organs are created with the responsibility of contributing to the resolution of major problems facing the country.
An organic law may create other Commissions and specialized organs.
THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE PERSON
The National Commission for the Rights of the Person is an independent national institution charged particularly with the following:
1. educating and mobilizing the population on matters relating to the rights of the person;
2. examining the violations of human rights committed on Rwandan territory by State organs, public officials using their duties as cover, by organizations and by individuals;
3. carrying out investigations of the violations of rights abuse in Rwanda and filing complaints in respect thereof with the competent courts;
4. preparing and disseminating an annual and other reports as may be necessary on the situation of human rights in Rwanda.
The National Commission for Human Rights submits each year its program and activity report to the Parliament and provides copies thereof to such State organs as may be determined by a law.
A law shall determine matters relating to the organization and the functioning of the Commission.
THE NATIONAL UNITY AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission is an independent national institution. In, particular, its responsibilities include the following:
1. preparing and coordinating the national program for the promotion of national unity and reconciliation;
2. putting in place and developing ways and means to restore and consolidate unity and reconciliation among Rwandans;
3. educating and mobilizing the population on matters relating to national unity and reconciliation;
4. carrying out research, organizing debates, disseminating ideas and making publications relating to peace, national unity and reconciliation;
5. making proposals on measures that can eradicate divisions among Rwandans and to reinforce national unity and reconciliation;
6. denouncing and fighting against acts, writings and utterances which are intended to promote any kind of discrimination, intolerance or xenophobia;
7. making an annual report and such other reports as may be necessary on the situation of national unity and reconciliation.
The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission shall submit each year its program and activity report to the President of the Republic and the Senate and provide a copy thereof to such other State organs as may be determined by law.
An organic law shall determine the organization and functioning of the Commission.
THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST GENOCIDE
The National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide shall be an independent national organ. Its responsibilities include the following:
1. to organize a permanent framework for the exchange of ideas on genocide, its consequences and the strategies for its prevention and eradication;
2. to initiate the creation of a national research and documentation center on genocide;
3. to advocate for the cause of genocide survivors both within the country and abroad;
4. to plan and coordinate all activities aimed at commemoration of the 1994 genocide;
5. to liaise with other national and international institutions with a similar mission.
The National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide submits each year its program and activity report to the Parliament and provides copies thereof to other State organs determined by law. The law shall determine the organization and functioning of the Commission.
THE NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION
The National Electoral Commission is an independent commission responsible for the preparation and the organization of local, legislative, presidential and referendum or such other elections the responsibility for the organization of which the law may vest in the Commission.
It ensures that elections are free and fair.
The National Electoral Commission submits each year its program and activity report to the Parliament and submits copies thereof to such other State organs determined by law.
A law determines the organization and functioning of the commission.
THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
The Public Service Commission shall be an independent public institution. Its responsibilities shall include the following:
1. the recruitment and appointment of public servants in Central Government and other public institutions;
2. the submission of names of candidates to the institutions concerned for employment, appointment and promotion of candidates who fulfill all the required conditions and have the most suitable qualifications for the job for which they have applied, taking into account the record of their conduct;
3. the establishment of an appropriate system of recruitment of candidates which is objective, impartial, transparent and equitable for all;
4. carrying out research on the laws, regulations, human resource requirements, the terms of reference of posts and any other matters relating to the management and development of human resources and advise the Government accordingly;
5. submitting to the organs concerned proposals on appropriate disciplinary actions against employees in accordance with the law in force;
6. providing technical assistance to State organs and public enterprises governed by special statutes using the expertise which it has by virtue of its functions referred to in this article.
The management and personnel of the Commission are prohibited from seeking or accepting instructions from private persons or public officials from outside the Commission.
The Public Service Commission submits each year its program and activity report to the Parliament and Government and provides copies thereof to other State organs determined by law.
The law shall determine the organization and functioning of the Commission.
THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
The Office of the Ombudsman shall be an independent public institution. Its responsibilities shall include the following:
1. acting as a link between the citizen and public and private institutions;
2. preventing and fighting against injustice, corruption and other related offences in public and private administration;
3. receiving and examining, in the aforementioned context, complaints from individuals and independent associations against the acts of public officials or organs, and private institutions and to mobilize these officials and institutions in order to find solutions to such complaints if they are well founded.
The Office shall not involve itself in the investigation or adjudication relating to matters which are subjudice except that it may submit to the courts or the prosecution service the complaints which it has received, in which case those organs are required to respond to the office.
4. receiving the faithful declaration of assets of the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister and other members of the Government upon taking up and on leaving office.
The Office of Ombudsman shall submit each year its program and activity report to the President of the Republic and to Parliament and submit copies thereof to other State organs determined by law. The law shall determine the organization and functioning of the Office.
THE OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL OF STATE FINANCES
The Office of the Auditor General of State Finances is an independent national institution responsible for the audit of state finances.
It is vested with juridical personality and has financial and administrative autonomy.
The office is headed by the Auditor General assisted by a Deputy Auditor General and other necessary personnel. The responsibilities of the Office include the following:
1. auditing objectively whether revenues and expenditures of the State as well as local government organs, public enterprises and parastatal organizations, privatized state enterprises, joint enterprises in which the State is participating and government projects were in accordance with the laws and regulations in force and in conformity with the prescribed justifications;
2. auditing the finances of the institutions referred to above and particularly verifying whether the expenditures were in conformity with the law and sound management and whether they were necessary;
3. carrying out all audits of accounts, management, portfolio and strategies which were applied in institutions mentioned above.
No person shall be permitted to interfere in the functioning of the Office or to give instructions to its personnel or to cause them to change their methods of work.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 79 of this Constitution, the Auditor-General shall submit each year to each Chamber of Parliament, prior to the commencement of the session devoted to the examination of the budget of the following year, a complete report on the implementation of the State budget of the previous year. This report must indicate the manner in which the budget was utilized, unnecessary expenses which were incurred or expenses which were contrary to the law and whether there was misappropriation or general squandering of public funds.
A copy of the report shall be submitted to the President of the Republic, Government, President of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General of the Republic.
The Parliament may charge the Office of the Auditor General to carry out a financial audit of any institution of the State or with regard to the use of funds provided by the State.
The institutions and public officials to which the report of the Auditor General is addressed are obligated to implement its recommendations by taking appropriate measures in respect of the irregularities and other shortcomings which were disclosed.
The law determines the organization and functioning of the Office of the Auditor General of State Finances.
THE “GENDER” MONITORING OFFICE
A Gender Monitoring Office is hereby established.
The Gender Monitoring Office shall be an independent public institution whose responsibilities include the following:
1. to monitor and supervise on a permanent basis compliance with gender indicators of the program for ensuring gender equality in the context of the vision of sustainable development and to serve as a reference point on matters relating to gender equality for equal opportunity and equity;
2. to submit to various organs recommendations relating to the program for the promotion of gender equality for national development.
The gender Monitoring Office shall submit each year its program and activity report to the Government and submits copies thereof to other State organs determined by law.
The law shall determine its functions, organization and operation.
CHANCELLERY FOR HEROES AND NATIONAL ORDERS
There is hereby established a Chancellery for Heroes and National Orders. A law shall determine its functions, organization and operation.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN
There is hereby established a National Council of Women.
The law shall determine its organization, functions, operation and its relations with other State organs.
THE NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL
There is hereby established a National Youth Council.
A law shall determine its organization, functions, operation and its relations with other state organs.
INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS
The President of the Republic negotiates international treaties and agreements and ratifies them. The Parliament is notified of such treaties and agreements following their conclusion.
However, peace treaties and treaties or agreements relating to commerce and international organizations and those which commit state finances, modify provisions of laws already adopted by Parliament or relate to the status of persons can only be ratified after authorization by Parliament.
The cessation or exchange of part of Rwanda or the joining to Rwanda of a part of another country is prohibited without the consent of the people by referendum.
The President of the Republic and Parliament shall be notified of all negotiations relating to treaties and international agreements which are not subject to ratification by the President of the Republic.
Upon their publication in the official gazette, international treaties and agreements which have been conclusively adopted in accordance with the provisions of law shall be more binding than organic laws and ordinary laws except in the case of non-compliance by one of parties.
International agreements to install foreign military bases on the national territory are prohibited.
International agreements permitting the transit or dumping of toxic waste and other hazardous materials capable of endangering public health and the environment are prohibited.
In the event that the Supreme Court, upon request by the organs referred to in Article 145 paragraph 4 of this Constitution, rules that an international treaty contains provisions which are inconsistent with the Constitution, the authorization to ratify the treaty or agreement cannot be granted until the Constitution is amended.
AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
The power to initiate amendment of the Constitution is vested concurrently in the President of the Republic, upon the proposal of the Government, and each Chamber of Parliament, upon a resolution passed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of its members.
The passage of a constitutional amendment requires a three-quarters (3/4) majority vote of the members of each chamber of Parliament. However, if the constitutional amendment concerns the term of the President of the Republic or the system of democratic government based on political pluralism, or the constitutional regime established by this Constitution, especially the republican form of the government or national sovereignty, the amendment must be passed by referendum after adoption by each Chamber of Parliament.
No amendment to this article is permitted.
TRANSITORY AND FINAL PROVISIONS
The referendum on the adoption and promulgation of this Constitution shall take place before July 19, 2003. The promulgation by the President of the Republic shall mark the end of the transition period.
The institutions provided for by the Fundamental Law of the Transitional Period remain in force until the establishment of the corresponding institutions provided for in this Constitution. However, the President of the Republic shall dissolve the National Transitional Assembly at least one (1) month prior to the holding of elections for members of the Chamber of Deputies.
The Transitional National Assembly shall not amend this Constitution.
Presidential and parliamentary elections must be held not later than six (6) months after the referendum on this Constitution.
The elected President of the Republic shall be sworn in no later than one (1) month after his election. His oath of office shall be administered by the President of the Supreme Court.
Members of the Senate shall be sworn in not later than two (2) months after the swearing in of the President of the Republic.
However, during the first term of the Senate, one half of Senators referred to in Article 82, 2 and 82, 3 of this Constitution shall be appointed at the very start of the term and the other half shall be appointed after one (1) year for a term of office of eight (8) years.
Members of the Chamber of Deputies shall be sworn in not later than fifteen (15) days after their election.
The appointment of the Prime Minister shall be made not later than fifteen (15) days following the swearing in of the members of the Chamber of Deputies.
The Government shall be set up not later than fifteen (15) days following the swearing in of the Prime Minister.
The President, Vice-President of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General of the Republic and the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic shall be elected by the Senate not later than two (2) months after it is formed.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the State.
Any law which is contrary to this Constitution is null and void.
Laws and regulations can only enter into force after they have been duly published in accordance with the procedures determined by the law.
Ignorance of a law, which has been duly published, is not a defense.
Unwritten customary law remains applicable as long as it has not been replaced by written laws; is not inconsistent with the Constitution, laws and regulations; and does not violate human rights, prejudice public order or offend public decency and morals.
This Constitution abrogates and replaces the Fundamental Law of the Republic of Rwanda governing the transitional period as amended to date.
All legislation in force shall remain applicable as long as its provisions are not contrary to this Constitution.
This Constitution, adopted by referendum of 5/26/2003 comes into force on the date of its promulgation by the President of the Republic and is duly published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda.
Kigali, on 6/4/2003
The President of the Republic
KAGAME Paul (sé)
The Prime Minister MAKUZA Bernard (sé)
Seen and sealed with the Seal of the Republic:
The Minister of Justice and Institutional Relations
MUCYO Jean de Dieu
International Institute for Justice and DevelopmentSM
PO Box 170594
Boston, MA 02117