LAW Nº 30/2013 OF 24/05/2013 RELATING TO THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
TITLE ONE: PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
Article One: Purpose of this law
This Law governs investigation and prosecution intended to punish acts constituting violation of the penal law.
This Law shall apply before Rwandan courts competent in criminal matters.
CHAPTER ONE: ACTIONS ARISING FROM AN OFFENCE
Section One: Criminal action
Article 2: Definition of prosecution and investigation terms
In this Law, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:
1° investigation: any act aimed at detecting offences, gathering evidence, whether of an incriminating or exculpatory nature
and any act aimed at determining whether or not to prosecute the suspect;
2° prosecution: any act aimed at referring a matter to the court, summoning parties, appearing before court, preparing the hearing, litigating and using procedures for appeal;
3° criminal action: action which is exercised on behalf of the public before criminal courts and aimed at punishing the offender.
Article 3: Authority entitled to institute a criminal action
A criminal action shall be instituted by the Public Prosecution.
However, a criminal action may be instituted by the aggrieved person by filing a case in a criminal court by way of private prosecution. Article 4: Termination of the criminal action
A criminal action shall be terminated :
1° upon death of the offender;
2° if the prescriptive period of the offence expires;
3° if amnesty is granted;
4° if a law is repealed;
5° if a judgment in such action has become final.
The criminal action may also be terminated:
1° if the suspect accepts to pay a fine without trial;
2° in case of withdrawal of a claim if provided for by law.
Article 5: Prescriptive period of a criminal action
Except the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes which are not subject to prescription, a criminal action for other offenses shall lapse after:
1° a period of ten (10) years for felonies;
2° a period of three (3) years for misdemeanours;
3° a period of one year for petty offences.
Article 6: Determining the commencement of the prescriptive period of a criminal action
The prescriptive period for a criminal action shall start from the date on which the offence is committed when during that time interval no investigation or prosecution is conducted.
As to instantaneous offences, the prescriptive period of a criminal action shall run from date of the commission of the offence.
As to continuous offences, the prescriptive period of a criminal action shall run from the date of the cessation of the last act of the offence.
As to several acts intended to fulfil the same criminal intent, the prescriptive period of a criminal action shall run from the commission of the last act intended to fulfil the intent.
shall be interrupted by conducting investigation or prosecution within the period provided for under Article 5 of this Law.
If any investigation or prosecution is conducted during that period, the prescriptive period of a criminal action shall start running again from the last investigation or prosecution to the expiry of the prescribed prescriptive period.
The same shall apply to the persons named in the complaint but who have not been subject to investigation or any other form of prosecution.
Article 8: Grounds for suspension of the prescriptive period of a criminal action
The prescriptive period of a criminal action shall be suspended whenever investigation or prosecution is precluded by an inevitable obstacle arising from the law or by an event of force majeure.
When such an obstacle is removed, the prescriptive period which was suspended shall continue to run from the removal of the obstacle.
Section 2: Civil action
Article 9: Definition of a civil action
A civil action is an action filed to seek compensation for damages caused by the offence.
Such an action shall be solely aimed at seeking civil damages.
It shall be instituted as provided for under this Law.
Article 10: A person entitled to institute a civil action
Any person aggrieved by an offence can institute a civil action. Such person may be natural or legal person, whether public or private or any other person authorised by law.
However, legally constituted associations whose mission is to protect victims of violence may act on behalf of the victim to institute a civil action and seek compensation for damages arising from the acts committed if the victim is unable to do so.
Article11: A person against whom a civil action is instituted
A civil action may be instituted against the principal offender, his/her co-offender,
accomplice and person with civil liability.
A civil action may also be instituted against the offender’s heirs.
Article 12: Procedure applicable to a civil action
When a civil action is instituted before a criminal court, the court shall hear such action in accordance with laws governing civil procedure.
Article 13: Separating the civil action from the criminal action
If a civil action is instituted before a criminal court, the court may, on its own motion or upon application by either party, separate the civil action from the criminal action when the civil action may impede or delay the hearing of the criminal action.
The court order separating the civil action from the criminal action may be subject to appeal.
However, separating the civil action from
the criminal action shall not be allowed on appeal if it was not done at the first instance.
Article 14: Suspension of proceedings in civil action
Proceedings in civil action shall be suspended until the criminal case is finally adjudicated if the criminal action was instituted before or in the course of civil proceedings in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Law determining the organisation, functioning and competence of courts.
Article 15: Prescriptive period of a civil action
A civil action arising from a criminal offence shall be subject to a prescriptive period of five (5) years from the date of the commission of the offence.
However, if the prescriptive period of a civil action expires before that of the criminal action, the civil action shall be subject to the same prescriptive period as the criminal action.
Article 16: Failure to file a civil action
A civil action cannot be instituted before a criminal court if the prescriptive period of the criminal action has expired.
However, when a civil action was instituted before a criminal court, the court may continue to hear such a civil case even though the prescriptive period of the criminal action has expired, the accused died or amnesty was granted.
Article 17: Waiver of a civil action
The waiver of a civil action shall not entail the termination of prosecution.
CHAPTER II: ORGANS RESPONSIBLE FOR INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION
Section One: Judicial Police
Sub-section One: Organisation of the Judicial Police
Article 18: Functions of the Judicial Police
The functions of the Judicial Police shall be carried out by Judicial Police Officers working under the authority and supervision of the National Public Prosecution Authority with respect to the offenses being investigated.
Military Judicial Police Officers shall work under the authority and supervision of the Military Prosecutor General.
Article 19: Composition of the Judicial Police
The Judicial Police shall comprise the following:
1° criminal investigation police officers;
2° criminal investigation military officers;
3° civil servants empowered by the law or the Minister in charge of justice to act as Judicial Police Officers.
Judicial Police Officers shall discharge their duties only with respect to the offences falling within their competence and territorial jurisdiction.
They shall be governed by laws governing their main professions.
However, this Law shall apply to them whenever they are exercising judicial police functions.
Sub-section 2: Responsibilities of the Judicial Police and how they are discharged
- Investigation by Judicial Police
Article 20: Responsibilities of the Judicial Police
The Judicial Police shall be responsible for:
1° detecting offenses;
2° receiving complaints and documents relating to such offenses;
3° gathering incriminating and exculpatory evidence;
4° searching for perpetrators of such offences, their co-offenders and accomplices so that they can be prosecuted by the Public Prosecution.
Article 21: Investigative procedure
Judicial Police Officers shall institute
investigation on their own initiative, upon complaint or instruction from the Public Prosecution.
Judicial Police Officers shall have the primary responsibility to conduct preliminary investigation.
However, if they either refuse to receive a complaint or to conduct investigation without reasonable cause, the person filing the complaint with the Judicial Police may file it directly with the Public Prosecution. In that case, the Public Prosecution may conduct preliminary investigation after finding out that the Judicial Police failed to act after the complaint was filed.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Paragraph 3 of this Article, no complaint shall be received by the Public Prosecution without being previously filed with the Judicial Police.
Article 22: Procedure for filing a complaint with the Judicial Police
A complaint may be filed with the Judicial Police either orally or in writing. If the complaint is filed orally, the Judicial Police must put it in writing.
Article 25: Interrogation
A Judicial Police Officer shall interrogate a suspect and make a written record of the statement made by the suspect. The suspect shall be interrogated in the language he/she understands well.
A Judicial Police Officer may also interrogate any person presumed to have some clarification and compel him/her to give testimony under oath in the manner provided for under Article 56 of this Law. He/she may also prevent any person from moving away from a specified area until completion of the statement and, if necessary, to compel him/her to stay in that area.
The Judicial Police must always inform the suspect and the complainant about their rights provided for by law.
Article 26: Summoning by a Judicial Police Officer
A person summoned by a Judicial Police Officer for the purposes of investigation shall be bound to appear. If the summoned person does not appear, the Judicial Police Officer may issue a warrant to bring by force which is valid for three (3) months
Article 27: Statement
A Judicial Police Officer shall include the following in the statement:
1° the nature and circumstances of the offense;
2° the time and place of the commission of the offense;
3° evidence incriminating or exculpating the suspect;
4° a statement from eye witnesses or persons with some clarifications.
The Judicial Police Officer shall ask the person being interrogated to read the statement put in writing and sign it if he/she agrees to its contents. If the person being interrogated cannot read, the Judicial Police Officer shall read the statement to him/her.
If the person being interrogated refuses or is unable to sign, his/her refusal or inability shall be recorded in the statement.
Errors found in the statement shall be corrected by making an additional statement.
A statement shall be concluded by the following written oath: “I hereby swear that this statement contains nothing but the truth”.
Article 28: Search
If a Judicial Police Officer finds that the evidence required is made up of papers, documents and other items held by the suspect or any other person, he/she may, upon obtaining a search warrant from the National Public Prosecution, visit and search the place where such items are kept.
When a home must be searched, the search shall be conducted neither before 6 am nor after 6 pm unless there are serious grounds for believing that evidence may disappear. However, any such search shall always be conducted in the presence of the representatives of the local authorities of the place of search.
The search shall be conducted in the presence of the suspect or household members. However their absence shall not prevent the search.
If the Judicial Police Officer has to search an
office of a person practising a liberal profession, the search shall be conducted in the presence of the person with respect to whom the search is conducted or his/her duly authorized representative. If such a person is a member of a professional association, the search shall be conducted in the presence of the representative of such association.
Article 29: Ordering body search
A Judicial Police Officer in charge of case file preparation shall not order a strip-search without prior authorisation by the Chief Prosecutor of the place where the search is conducted, unless the person to be searched is caught red-handed.
A strip-search shall be conducted exclusively by a medical doctor.
In any case, a person to be strip-searched may choose a medical doctor, his/her spouse or any other adult person of the same sex to accompany him/her.
Article 30: Seizure of objects
A Judicial Police Officer may seize objects
wherever they are found if the confiscation provided for by law can be enforced on such objects and seize all items which can serve as evidence incriminating or exculpating the suspect. The objects seized shall be shown to the owner for acknowledgement.
If the objects seized are perishable, may depreciate or may pose a serious danger to people’s health, safety and property risk, a Judicial Police Officer may, on his/her own initiative or upon request by any interested person, immediately take necessary measures and make a written statement thereon, a copy of which is given to the owner.
Article 31: Statement of seizure
A statement of seizure shall indicate details of the objects seized and be signed by the person who had such objects in his/her possession and witnesses, if any. If the person who had such objects in his/her possession is unavailable, unable or refuse to append his/her signature to the statement of seizure, this must be mentioned in the statement, a copy of which is given to the person who had such objects in his/her possession.
Article 32: Enlisting assistance from an expert
A Judicial Police Officer may enlist assistance from an expert if it is necessary to conduct investigation on matters requiring special expertise. An expert whose assistance is sought must first vow to help the justice by taking the following oath: “I,……………….., swear to perform the work entrusted to me to the best of my knowledge faithfully and conscientiously. Should I fail to do so, may I face the rigours of the law.”
The expert must make a report conscientiously with due professional care.
Article 33: Being caught red-handed or presumed to be caught red-handed
A person caught red-handed shall be a person caught in the act of committing an offense or immediately after committing an offense.
A person presumed to be caught red-handed shall be a person being yelled at by the public or found with arms, instruments, documents or any other objects which give reason to assume that he/she is a perpetrator or an accomplice provided that it is soon after the offence.
Article 34: Prosecution of a person caught red-handed or presumed to be caught
If a person is caught red-handed or presumed to be caught red-handed, any person, in the absence of a Judicial Police Officer, can arrest him/her and immediately bring him/her before the nearest Judicial Police Officer.
A Judicial Police Officer before whom a person caught red-handed or presumed to be caught red-handed is brought must complete the preparation of a case file within seventy two (72) hours and submit it to a competent Prosecutor who must decide on the case file within a non-renewable period of five (5) days.
If the Prosecutor believes it is appropriate to prosecute the accused while in provisional detention, he/she shall petition the court to order provisional detention of the suspect pending the hearing of the case on its merits.
The court shall be required to try the case on merit within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the case file.
Article 35: Penalty reduction
When the accused candidly pleads guilty to the offense, the provisions of Article 34 of this Law shall apply to the prosecution and the judge seized of the case may reduce the penalties down to the half (½) of applicable penalties.
In case the accused would be sentenced to life imprisonment, the penalty may be reduced to twenty (20) years of imprisonment.
Article 36: Fine without trial
For any offence that falls within his/her competence, a Prosecutor may ask the accused to choose between being brought before the court or paying a fine without trial, which fine cannot exceed the maximum fine increased by any possible additional amount stipulated by law, if he/she considers that, owing to the circumstances in which the offence was committed, the court may only impose a fine and possibly order confiscation of property.
If the suspect chooses to pay the fine without trial, the criminal action is discontinued.
The payment of fine shall not constitute an admission of the offence.
- Arrest and other necessary conditions
Article 37: Arrest and detention
If an offense is punishable with imprisonment of at least two (2) years or if there are serious grounds for believing that a suspect may escape or his/her identity is unknown or regarded as doubtful, a Judicial Police Officer may, for the purposes of investigation, arrest and detain the suspect in a relevant custody facility if there are serious grounds for suspecting that he/she has committed the offense.
The Judicial Police Officer shall prepare a statement of arrest and detention in four (4) copies, one of which is immediately sent to the competent Public Prosecution and the other kept in the investigation file while of the two remaining ones, one is given to the person in charge of the custody facility and another to the suspect.
A statement of arrest and detention of the suspect shall be valid for five (5) days which cannot be extended.
A suspect who is arrested shall be immediately released if the Public Prosecution finds in the course of investigation that there are no serious grounds for suspecting him/her of having committed or attempted to commit an offence.
Article 38: Rights of the suspect
Any person held in custody by the Judicial Police shall be informed of the charges against him/her and his/her rights including the right to inform his/her legal counsel or any other person of his/her choice thereof. Such prerogative shall be indicated in the statement signed by both the Judicial Police Officer and the suspect.
Article 39: Right to a legal counsel
Any person held in custody by the Judicial Police shall have the right to legal counsel and to communicate with him/her.
If a suspect is unable to find a legal counsel, the Judicial Police Officer or the Prosecutor shall inform the Chairperson of the Bar Association so that he/she assigns a legal counsel for the suspect. The suspect shall have the right to accept or refuse to be represented by such a legal counsel.
Article 40: Custody facilities
A person held in detention by the Judicial Police shall in no way be held in prison or in any place other than the relevant custody facility located within the jurisdiction of the Judicial Police Officer or the Military Police Officer for members of the military and their co-offenders and accomplices.
An Order of the Minister in charge of internal security shall determine custody facilities for suspects held in detention by the Judicial Police. Custody facilities for suspects investigated by the Military Judicial Police shall be determined by an Order of the Minister in charge of Defence Forces.
Section 2: Public Prosecution
Article 41: Persons who are competent to conduct prosecution
The power to prosecute before a court shall rest with the Public Prosecution. However, the victim of the offence may initiate a criminal action before the court as prescribed by law.
If the case is introduced before the Public Prosecution, the Prosecutor shall have an
obligation to inform the victim of his/her rights provided for by law.
Section 3: Common provisions relating to investigation
Article 42: Confidentiality of investigation
Unless otherwise provided for by law, investigation and evidence collection shall be conducted in a confidential manner.
Any person involved in investigation shall be bound by an obligation of professional secrecy as provided under the Penal Code.
TITLE II: INVESTIGATION
CHAPTER ONE: SUBMISSION OF A CASE FILE TO THE PUBLIC PROSECUTION
Article 43: Submission of a case file
When preliminary investigation is
completed, the Judicial Police shall immediately submit a case file to the Public Prosecution.
Article 44: Responsibilities of the Prosecutor receiving the case file
Upon receiving a case file, a Prosecutor may:
1° immediately file suit against the suspect before a competent court if he/she considers that the case file is complete;
2° conduct additional investigation if he/she considers that evidence contained in the case file submitted to him/her is insufficient;
3° initiate a procedure for amicable settlement if he/she considers that such a procedure is the most appropriate way to compensate the victim, nullify the consequences of the offence and rehabilitate the offender. This procedure shall not apply to offences punishable with imprisonment exceeding two (2) years;
4° close the file if elements of the offence are incomplete or the
identity of the suspect is unknown or the prosecution is not necessary.
The decision to close the file is an administrative measure which can in no way prevent the resumption of investigation if the Public Prosecution finds new incriminating evidence provided the prescriptive period of the criminal action has not yet expired.
The victim must be informed of the decision taken on his/her case file and the rights deriving there from.
CHAPTER II: COLLECTION OF EVIDENCE
Section One: Document used in the collection of evidence
Sub-section One: Summons and warrants
Article 45: Summons and warrants issued for the suspect
A Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation may call on the suspect to appear by issuing summons, a warrant to appear, a warrant to bring by force or an arrest warrant.
Summons and warrants shall be enforceable throughout the entire country.
A Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation may request the Prosecutor General or the Military Prosecutor General in case of persons prosecuted by military courts, to issue an international arrest warrant against a suspect who is in a foreign country.
Article 46: Summons
A summons is a written notice issued by a Judicial Police Officer or a Prosecutor to a person therein mentioned requesting him/her to appear before a Prosecutor or a Judicial Police Officer on a date and at a time therein specified.
Article 47 : A warrant to appear
A warrant to appear is a written notice issued by a Judicial Police Officer or a Prosecutor to compel the person therein mentioned to appear before him/her on a date and at a time therein specified.
A warrant to appear does not constitute an order of arrest or detention. It is rather issued to a person who does not appear after
having received the summons provided for under Article 46 of this Law.
A warrant to appear shall be issued to a suspect, an accused person or a witness in a case irrespective of the gravity of the offence.
Article 48: Warrant to bring by force
A warrant to bring by force is a written order issued by a Prosecutor to law enforcement officers to bring by force a person who is suspected of having committed an offence or a person who refuses to appear after being duly summoned by a Police Judicial Officer or a Prosecutor.
A warrant to bring by force is not an order of detention but rather an order to apprehend the suspect.
A warrant to bring by force shall be valid for three (3) months from the date of its signature.
A warrant to bring by force shall cease to be enforceable upon its expiry unless it is renewed by the issuing authority.
If, for any reason whatsoever, the issuing
authority is absent, the warrant to bring by force shall be renewed by the Chief Prosecutor of the operating area of the issuing authority.
The warrant to bring by force may be issued against any escaped detainee.
If the wanted person is arrested, he/she shall be immediately brought before the Officer who requested the warrant. If he/she cannot be immediately brought before that Officer he/she shall be provisionally detained for five (5) days in a custody facility located within the jurisdiction of the nearest Judicial Police Officer.
Article 49: Arrest warrant issued by a Prosecutor
An arrest warrant is an order of detention signed by a Prosecutor in the course of case file preparation after the suspect is informed of the charges against him/her provided that the alleged offence is punishable with imprisonment of at least two (2) years.
An arrest warrant shall be valid for five (5) days non-renewable and the arrested person shall be detained in a relevant custody facility within a period of five (5) days corresponding to the validity of the arrest warrant.
Article 50: International arrest warrant
An international arrest warrant is an order signed by the Prosecutor General or Military Prosecutor General issued against a person in a foreign country suspected of having committed a felony or a misdemeanour.
Article 51: Enforcement of a warrant to bring by force and arrest warrant
A warrant to bring by force and arrest warrant shall be enforced by any law enforcement officer and must be shown to the persons against whom they are issued and such persons shall be given a copy of the warrant.
In case of emergency, such warrants may be sent by any means available. The original or copy of a warrant to bring by force or an arrest warrant shall be immediately sent to the person responsible for its enforcement.
Sub-section 2: Interrogation of witnesses and the victim
Article 52: Summoning a witness
A Prosecutor shall compel any person whose evidence he/she considers relevant to appear by issuing a summons, a warrant to appear or a warrant to bring by force. Any person so summoned shall be given a copy of such a document.
The witnesses shall be summoned through administrative entities authorities by court bailiffs or security organs. However, they may appear on their own initiative.
Any person duly summoned must appear.
Article 53: Rights of the victim during interrogation
To protect the victim’s privacy during interrogation, special attention must be paid to the following with respect to the victim:
1° to be interrogated in the presence of a trusted person of her/his choice;
2° to be informed of his/her right to remain silent ;
3° to be informed of his/her rights provided for by law;
4° to be granted the right not to be cross-examined by the offender if he/she is a minor aged under eighteen(18) years;
5° to be protected if he/she expresses concern for his/her safety or if relevant organs consider that his/her safety may be compromised.
Article 54: Warrant to bring by force issued against a witness who refuses to appear
A Prosecutor may issue a warrant to bring by force against any witness who refuses to appear on his/her own initiative or on the request of a Police Judicial Officer.
Any witness who is duly summoned and does not appear with no justifiable reason or refuses to testify when required to do so, may be brought before the court and face the penalties provided for by the Penal Code.
A witness who fails to appear after a second summons or a warrant to bring by force is issued shall not face penalties if he/she has justifiable grounds.
If the summoned witness cannot appear for legitimate reasons, the Prosecutor shall travel or have another person travel to his/her place for interrogation.
Article 55: Remission of penalty for a witness facing penalties for refusal to appear
A witness sentenced for refusal to appear who is summoned once again or is subject to a warrant to bring by force and gives legitimate reasons for failure to appear, he/she may benefit from remission of the penalty previously imposed by the court.
Article 56: Witness oath
After giving their personal particulars, witnesses shall be interrogated one by one without the presence of the suspect. With his/her right hand raised, the witness shall take the following oath: “I……………….. swear to tell the truth. Should I fail to honour this oath, may I face the rigours of the law”.
A witness who refuses to take the oath shall be liable to the penalties provided for by the Penal Code of Rwanda.
Statements made by a witness shall be recorded in writing.
Article 57:Testimony of a person having participated in the commission of an offense
Any person having participated in the commission of an offence may be heard as a witness.
Article 58: Minor’s testimony
A minor aged under twelve (12) years shall be qualified to testify as an adult.
A minor aged under twelve (12) years shall give testimony without taking an oath but the judge cannot solely rely on his/her testimony. In that case, the testimony must be supported by other corroborative evidence.
Article 59: Signing the statement
Each page of the statement shall be signed by both the Prosecutor and the person interrogated. The person interrogated shall be asked to read and sign the statement put in writing if he/she agrees to its contents. If he/she is unable to read, the statement shall be read to him/her.
If he/she refuses or is unable to sign, his/her refusal or inability shall be recorded in the statement.
Article 60: Way of writing a statement
A statement must be written with enough spacing between lines and words. Words struck out and altered must be approved by the Prosecutor and the person interrogated.
If they fail to do so, such words become invalid. The same shall apply to statements that are not duly signed.
Sub-section 3: Interrogation and crossexamination
Article 61: Interrogation and rights of the suspect
At the first appearance of the suspect, the Prosecutor shall verify his/her personal particulars and inform him/her of the charges against him/her and their legal characterisation. The Prosecutor shall write the statement of such appearance.
If the suspect has sought assistance of a legal counsel who is duly informed of the appearance, the Prosecutor shall immediately start interrogation.
Otherwise, the Prosecutor shall inform the suspect of the right to seek a legal counsel. The legal counsel may be allowed to consult the case file and communicate with the accused. The Prosecutor shall ask the accused if he/she can be interrogated immediately. Such request shall be recorded in a statement.
At the end of interrogation, the accused must disclose his/her residential address. The suspect shall be informed that he/she is required to notify the Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation of any change of residential address, failing which any notification sent to his/her former address shall be deemed duly served on him/her. Such notification and the residential address shall be recorded in a statement.
Article 62: Cross-examination
If necessary, the Prosecutor in charge of
case file preparation shall, either on his/her own initiative or upon request of any interested party, organize cross-examination between the suspect, between witnesses or between the suspect and witnesses. Every cross-examination shall be recorded in a statement.
Article 63: Immediate interrogation or cross-examination
The Prosecutor may urgently conduct interrogation or cross-examination if he/she has reason to believe that a witness is facing imminent death or that some serious grounds can disappear. The causes of urgency shall be recorded in a statement.
Sub-section 4: Visiting the scene of the offense, search and seizure
Article 64: Visiting the scene of the offense
The Prosecutor may visit the scene of the offense to ascertain the facts.
Article 65: Search
The Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation may conduct a search at the scene of the offense or at any other place where any evidence necessary for the determination of the truth can be found.
If a home search is required, it can be conducted neither before 6 am nor after 6 pm unless there are serious grounds for believing that evidence may disappear. However, the search can only be conducted in the presence of a representative of the authorities of the place where it is conducted.
The search shall be conducted in the presence of the suspect or household members. Their absence shall not prevent the search from being conducted. The Prosecutor may delegate the search to a Judicial Police Officer.
If a Prosecutor searches an office of a person practising a liberal profession, the search shall be conducted in the presence of the person with respect to whom the search is conducted or his/her duly authorized representative. If such a person is a member of a professional association, the search shall be conducted in the presence of the representative of such an association.
Article 66: Ordering body search
The Prosecutor in charge of case file
preparation shall not order a strip-search without prior authorisation by the Chief Prosecutor of the place where the search is conducted unless the person to be searched is caught red-handed.
A strip-search shall be conducted exclusively by a medical doctor.
In any case, a person to be strip-searched may choose a medical doctor, a spouse or any other adult person of the same sex to accompany him/her.
Article 67: Authorisation to search and visit any place where evidence can be found
A Prosecutor or Judicial Police Officer vested with powers to conduct a search and visit any place where evidence can be found must show a valid service card and a search warrant signed by the competent authority. A copy of the search warrant shall be given to the suspect, if present and the owner of the premises to be searched.
Article 68: Search warrant
A search warrant is a document which is issued by the Public Prosecution upon authorization from the Prosecutor General or the Military Prosecutor General in case of members of the military or their co-offender, or the Chief Prosecutor at Intermediate level or a Prosecutor at Primary level.
A search warrant empowers the person in charge of its enforcement to enter any premises to uncover evidence or items necessary to establish the truth in relation to the offence and the suspect.
Article 69: Knowing the contents of the documents subject to search
If the search is conducted with respect to documents, the powers to know the contents of such documents before they are seized shall be entrusted to the following:
1° the Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation or any other person he/she delegates;
2° a Judicial Police Officer.
Article 70: Inventory and marking of the items seized
All the items and documents placed in the custody of the Judicial Police or the Public Prosecution shall be immediately counted and marked with a sign indicating seizure.
Only items and documents relevant for the establishment of the truth shall be seized.
Article 71: Statement of search, visit and seizure
An officer having visited the premises conducted a search and seizure shall write a statement and give a copy thereof to the concerned persons.
Sub-section 5: Interception of correspondence and communications
Article 72: Interception of correspondence and communications during investigation and prosecution
If during investigation and prosecution all other procedures for uncovering evidence to establish the truth in relation to an offense against national security have failed, authorities of public security organs provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, may, upon written
authorisation from a National Prosecutor appointed by the Minister in charge of justice, listen to, review and make audio and video recordings of written materials, internet, conversations, telegrams, postcards, electronic mails and other means of communication.
In this Law, national security means measures taken by the country to ensure its security, including those measures aimed at preventing and defending itself against attacks from inside or outside and any other acts that may undermine national safety.
Article 73: Order authorizing interception of communications and correspondence
An order authorizing interception of communications and correspondence must be in writing. It must contain identification details for items or connections to be intercepted and indicate offence that gives rise to such interception.
However, for the purposes of national security interests and as an emergency situation dictates, a competent National Prosecutor may, upon request by one of the
authorities provided for under Article 72 of this Law, give verbal authorisation to conduct interception of communications and correspondence provided that written authorisation is subsequently given within twenty four (24) hours. If the written authorisation is not given within that time frame, such interception shall become unlawful.
Such an authorization shall be valid for a period of three (3) months renewable only once.
A person whose communications and correspondence are unlawfully intercepted may file his/her complaint with the High Court or Military High Court in case of members of the military.
The filing of the complaint shall in no way entail suspension of interception.
Article 74: Statement of interception of communications and correspondence
The organ conducting interception of correspondence and communications shall write a related statement which only includes details on the offense alleged against the person with respect to whom interception is conducted.
Article 75: Prohibitions
Correspondence or messages of the Head of State shall neither be seized nor intercepted.
Sub-section 6: Assistance in investigation and competence of a Judicial Police Officer or a Prosecutor
requested to provide assistance
Article 76: Assistance in investigation
The Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation may request another Prosecutor or a Judicial Police
Officer to provide assistance by performing on his/her behalf acts he/she considers necessary for the
ascertainment of the truth by asking him/her to conduct such acts in the area of his/her territorial
competence. Such co-operation shall only cover acts relating to the alleged offence.
The Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation may also request a Prosecutor in a foreign country
to provide assistance by performing on his/her behalf the acts provided for under Paragraph One of
this Article and send the request through the Prosecutor General who in turn sends it through the
Minister in charge of foreign affairs.
The Prosecutor General may also give a Prosecutor at the Intermediate or Primary level extra-territorial powers to conduct investigation.
Article 77: Competence of a Prosecutor or a Judicial Police Officer requested to provide assistance
A Prosecutor or a Judicial Police Officer requested to provide assistance in investigation shall have the same competence as that of the Prosecutor requesting assistance only within the limits of the assistance requested.
Sub-section 7: Use of translators, experts, interpreters and medical doctors
Article 78: Translators, experts, interpreters and medical doctors
When no other help is available, any person duly requested by a Judicial Police Officer, a Prosecutor or a judge to assist as an interpreter, a translator, an expert, a medical doctor or must render assistance if there is nothing to prevent him/her from doing so.
If the person rendering assistance is not a
civil servant, he/she shall be entitled to remuneration proportional to his/her assistance.
An Order of the Minister in charge of justice shall determine the rights of the civil servant and
benefits accorded to interpreters, translators, experts and medical doctors who render assistance.
Article 79: Oath of an expert, interpreter, translator or medical doctor
Before commencing his/her duty to render assistance, an expert, interpreter, translator or medical
doctor shall take the following oath: “I,……………….., do hereby swear to perform my duties as
faithfully and professionally as possible and in good faith. Should I fail to do so, may I face the rigours
of the law.”
The expert, interpreter, translator or medical doctor must make a report conscientiously with due
Article 80: Appointment of an interpreter, expert, translator or medical doctor
The President of the Supreme Court, President of the High Court, President of Intermediate Courts, President of Primary Court, President of the Military High Court or President of the Military Court shall determine through verification and competition a person upon whom the capacity to serve as an interpreter, expert, translator or medical doctor is conferred.
They may, by a written order, also confer such capacity on employees at their respective courts for them to perform such duties in courts in their respective jurisdictions on a permanent basis.
A person upon whom such capacity is conferred shall take an oath provided under Article 79 of this Law before his/her appointing judge.
The person upon whom the capacity to serve as an interpreter or a translator on a permanent basis is conferred shall be exempt from taking again the oath provided under Article 79 of this Law whenever required to provide services.
Article 81: Penalties against a person who refuses to perform duties required of him/her by the court or to take an oath
A person who refuses to perform duties required of him/her by the court or to take an oath when required to do so shall be punished in accordance with the Penal Code
Article 82: Receiving testimony from people other than the suspect
An expert may receive testimony from people other than the suspect to be able to thoroughly discharge his/her duties.
Article 83: Contradictory opinions of several experts
If several experts are appointed and offer contradictory opinions or some of them make reservations to common opinions, each of them shall give reasons for his/her opinion or reservations.
Article 84: Seeking a second opinion from another expert
If a judge has reason to believe that an expert has come up with biased opinions, he/she shall order a second opinion.
If an expert gives his/her opinion that the accused was insane when he/she committed the offence, the judge shall order a second opinion.
Section 2: Production of evidence
Article 85: Burden of proof
The burden of proof shall be on the Public Prosecution or, in case of a claim for damages or private prosecution, on the victim of an offence or his/her rightful beneficiaries.
An accused shall always be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a final court decision. An accused shall not be obliged to prove his/her innocence unless his/her guilt has been established.
However, where evidence to support the offence is presented, the accused or his/her legal counsel must present all the defences available to him/her, raise a plea of inadmissibility or show that the allegations against him/her do not constitute an offence or he/she is innocent and present all the facts challenging the veracity of incriminating evidence. Unless provided otherwise by law, the production of evidence shall be made in accordance with the law relating to the production of evidence.
Article 86: Basis for the production of evidence
Evidence shall be based on all the facts and legal considerations provided that parties are given an opportunity to present adversary arguments.
The court shall decide at its sole discretion on the veracity and admissibility of incriminating or exculpatory evidence.
Article 87: Collection of evidence
Upon request by the Public Prosecution or parties or on its own initiative, the court may order the production of any evidence which it deems conclusive.
At the hearing, the court may itself collect evidence which has not been collected by the Public Prosecution, the plaintiff, the accused or their representatives.
Article 88: Receiving and examining evidence produced by the parties
The judge must in all cases receive and examine all incriminating or exculpatory evidence produced by the parties to support their submissions.
CHAPTER III: JUDICIAL SUPERVISION AND PROVISIONAL DETENTION
Section One: General provisions
Article 89: Freedom of a suspect who is being investigated
A suspect shall normally remain free during investigation.
However, the suspect may be held in provisional detention if the conditions provided for under Articles 96 and 97 of this Law are met. Article 90: Unlawful detention
Any detention in violation of the provisions of Articles 96 to 104 of this Law shall be unlawful and punishable.
Unlawful detention provided under Paragraph One of this Article shall include :
1° detaining a person in a place other than a relevant custody facility;
2° holding a person in detention for a
period that exceeds the period specified in the arrest statement and provisional detention warrants;
3° retaining a person under custody while there is an order invalidating or rejecting extension of provisional detention or granting provisional release;
4° retaining a person in custody despite of acquittal granted by a court decision.
Article 91: Habeas corpus procedure
When a person is unlawfully detained, any judge at the court competent to hear cases involving offences similar to those alleged against the person detained that is nearest to the place where the person is detained may issue a writ of habeas corpus ordering the person holding such a person in detention to appear personally with that person and justify the reasons and circumstances warranting such detention.
The judge may, after examination of the explanations provided, order the person continue to be detained or be set free. He/she may also order the person be provisionally set free and impose on him/her obligations provided under Article 107 of
If the judge finds that the detention is unlawful, he/she may, without prejudice to the right to
defence and the right to be defended by a legal counsel, immediately try the person holding the
other in detention and sentence him/her as provided for by law, if found guilty.
Article 92: Procedure for instituting an action against unlawful detention
An action against unlawful detention shall be instituted by the victim or any other person with
knowledge of such injustice.
The court shall hear such an action within forty eight (48) hours after it is instituted and render a
decision within five (5) days.
An action against unlawful detention shall be instituted through a special hearing that aims solely at
examining such an action which must be instituted against the person carrying out unlawful
detention and not against the organ for which he/she works.
Section 2: Judicial supervision
Article 93: Judicial supervision of the accused
A suspect shall be subject to judicial supervision when the offense alleged against him/her is a
misdemeanour or a felony.
Article 94: A suspect subject to judicial supervision
The Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation may at any time order judicial supervision of the
suspect pending the completion of the case file preparation. In that case, the accused may be subject
to one or more obligations provided for under Article 107 of this Law.
The Prosecutor may at any time impose on the suspect new judicial supervision obligations, remove
all or part of the obligations imposed on him/her, change any part of them or provisionally exempt
him/her from some of such obligations.
Article 95: Failure to comply with imposed obligations
The Prosecutor shall issue an arrest warrant against a suspect who wilfully fails to comply with the obligations imposed on him/her. When the suspect is brought before the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor shall issue an arrest warrant for his/her provisional detention. He/she shall immediately request the court to order provisional detention of the suspect pending completion of the case file preparation.
Section 3: Provisional detention
Sub-section One: Grounds for provisional detention
Article 96: Serious grounds for suspecting a person of an offence
A suspect shall not be subject to provisional detention unless there are serious grounds for suspecting him/her of an offence and the offense alleged against him/her is punishable with imprisonment of at least two (2) years.
Article 97: Definition of serious grounds for suspecting a person of an offence
In this Law, serious grounds for suspecting a person of an offense shall not be considered evidence but rather as plausible
investigation facts leading to the suspicion that the suspect has committed an offence.
Article 98: Other grounds for provisional detention
A suspect may be subject to provisional detention if there are serious grounds for suspecting that
he/she has committed an offence even if the alleged offense is punishable with imprisonment of less
than two (2) years but more than three (3) months, if :
1° there is reason to believe that he/she may evade justice;
2° his/her identity is unknown or doubtful;
3° there are serious and exceptional circumstances that require provisional detention in the interests
of public safety;
4° the provisional detention is the only way to prevent the suspect from disposing of evidence or
exerting pressure on witnesses and victims or prevent collusion between the suspect and their
5° such detention is the only way to protect the accused, to ensure that the accused appears before
judicial organs whenever required or to prevent the offence from continuing or reoccurring;
6° given the serious nature of the offence, circumstances under which it was committed and the level
of harm caused, the offense led to exceptional unrest and disruption of public order which can only
be ended by provisional detention.
Article 99: Provisional detention by a Prosecutor
If all the conditions of provisional detention are met, a Prosecutor may, after interrogating the
suspect with or without his/her legal counsel, hold the suspect in provisional detention and take
him/her to the court that is nearest to the place where he/she was arrested with the exception of
the High Court, the Military High Court and the Supreme Court.
If the suspect is a minor, he/she must necessarily be accompanied by a legal counsel. The suspect
shall be brought before
the judge within five (5) days of the issue of the provisional detention warrant.
Sub-section 2: Provisional detention hearing
Article 100: Duties of the judge during provisional detention hearing
A judge ruling on provisional detention shall have the following duties:
1° to see whether he/she is competent to hear the provisional detention case brought before him/her;
2° to verify the legality of the provisional detention warrant;
3° to examine whether there are no grounds for the termination or prescription of the criminal action which would have prevented the issue of the provisional detention warrant;
4° to examine whether there are serious grounds justifying provisional detention of the accused.
However, the judge shall in no way reclassify the offence alleged against the accused.
Article 101: Decision on provisional detention
The judge ruling on provisional detention shall deliver a decision within seventy two (72) hours of the
bringing of the case before the court after hearing the Public Prosecution and the suspect assisted by
a legal counsel if he/she so wishes.
If the suspect is a minor aged between 14 and 18 years, he/she must necessarily be accompanied by
a legal counsel.
Submissions and defences of the suspect shall be recorded in writing. The judge shall immediately
read the decision to the suspect or notify him/her of the decision through competent authorities.
Article 102: Nature of provisional detention order
A provisional detention order is an order signed by a judge and countersigned by a court registrar
when, after the hearing, he/she considers that the suspect must remain in provisional detention
the existence of substantial grounds for suspecting him/her of an offence.
The hearing and pronouncement of the judgement shall be public. The judge may order that the hearing be conducted in camera upon request by the Public Prosecution or the suspect.
Article 103: Justification for a provisional detention order
The provisional detention order against the suspect shall in any case be reasoned using facts and legal considerations and particularly specify substantial grounds for suspecting the accused of the offence.
Article 104: Period of validity of a provisional detention order
The provisional detention order against a suspect shall be valid for one (1) month including the date on which it is rendered. After the expiry date, it may be renewed for one (1) month on a continuing basis.
However, the one-month period of the provisional detention order for petty offenses shall not be renewed. For misdemeanours, the period of validity shall
not be renewed after six (6) months of detention of the suspect and after one (1) year for felonies. If
the time limits provided for under this Paragraph expires before the case file is forwarded to the
court, the suspect under provisional detention shall be granted interim release.
A court order renewing provisional detention shall be rendered by the court under the conditions
and within the time limits provided for under Article 101 of this Law.
A court order for provisional detention or renewal of the provisional detention must be reasoned.
A court order for release or renewal of the provisional detention shall be rendered by the judge who
is nearest to the place of detention of the suspect after consideration of the grounds which led the
first judge to order detention.
Provisional detention may also be ordered when the suspect wilfully breaches obligations imposed
on him/her by the court.
CHAPTER IV: PROVISIONAL RELEASE AND BAIL
Article 105: Applying for provisional
For any offence, a suspect or his/her legal counsel may, depending on the stage of the proceedings,
ask the Prosecutor handling the case or the judge to grant him/her provisional release.
The Public Prosecution shall examine the application for provisional release if it is still investigating
the case. If the case file has been already submitted to the Court whether at the stage of provisional
detention hearing or at the stage of hearing on the merits, the application shall be examined by the
The judge shall rule on the application within five (5) days and shall be required to provide reasons
for the decision. If an objection is raised as to provisional release, the judge hearing the case on the
merits must first examine the objection.
If the provisional release is granted, the suspect may be subject to judicial supervision.
When during the examination of an action against provisional detention of a person suspected of a
felony the judge finds that the provisional detention is unlawful, he/she shall in spite of such illegality
continuation of the detention of the suspect if there are serious grounds for suspecting that the
person has committed the offense, and the person who illegally detains the suspect shall be
Article 106: Grounds for provisional detention or provisional release of the suspect
If the judge finds that there are serious grounds for suspecting the person of an offence, he/she may
order provisional detention of the suspect in accordance with the provisions of Articles 96 and 98 of
If the judge finds that there are no serious grounds for provisional detention, the suspect shall be
Article 107: Being subject to judicial supervision The judge may not order provisional detention
against the suspect but subject him/her to judicial supervision in case of offences punishable with
imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years.
The judge may impose on the suspect obligations including the following:
1° to reside in territorial jurisdiction of the Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation;
2° to refrain from travelling beyond a prescribed area without prior authorization of the Prosecutor
in charge of case file preparation or his/her representative;
3° to refrain from travelling to a prescribed area or being found in such area at a given time;
4° to report on a prescribed periodic basis to the Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation or a
civil servant or any other officer designated by the judge;
5° to report to the Prosecutor in charge of case file preparation or to the judge when required to do
6° to post bail;
7° to confiscate identification papers of the suspect.
The order of the judge shall indicate special grounds for deciding provisional release of the suspect.
The Public Prosecution shall verify observance of the imposed obligations and apply for provisional detention of the suspect if it finds that such obligations are violated.
A person shall not be ordered to report to a designated officer for a period exceeding one (1) year for felonies and six (6) months for misdemeanours.
For the purposes of proper enforcement of the obligations provided under Paragraph 2 of this Article, the court order of provisional release may also stipulate that the suspect is required to comply with only one of such obligations.
The judge may at any time upon request by the Prosecutor or the suspect granted provisional release modify the obligations imposed to adjust them to new circumstances. If necessary, the judge may, due to the new and serious circumstances, also revoke the provisional release of the suspect.
Article 108: Bail
The judge ruling on provisional detention may release the suspect on bail only or on bail in combination with one or more obligations provided for under Article 107 of this Law.
Such bail guarantees that the suspect will appear before the court, pay damages arising from the
offence, provide restitution of property and pay fines and courts fees, if found guilty.
Article 109: Types of bail
Bail may be in the form of cash or a person standing as surety.
A person who accepts to stand as surety must be a person of integrity and capable to pay.
If the suspect escapes justice, the person standing as surety shall make reparation for the damages
caused by the offence.
Article 110: Determination of bail
The judge shall determine the amount of bail in consideration of the damages caused by the offense.
If the offence is against property, the amount of bail must be at least twice the value of the property
No bail shall be accepted in respect of offences punishable with imprisonment of
more than five (5) years.
Article 111: Bail refund
If the accused is found innocent, he/she shall get his/her bail refunded.
If the accused loses the case, the court shall decide on the use of the bail in accordance with the provisions of Article 108 of this Law.
CHAPTER V: APPEAL AT THE HIGHER LEVEL IN CASE OF PROVISIONAL DETENTION AND PROVISIONAL RELEASE
Article 112: Appealing against a court order of provisional detention or provisional release
The Public Prosecution or the suspect may appeal against an order of provisional detention or provisional release.
Article 113: Appealable court order
The appeal against a court order rendered by a Primary Court on provisional detention or release shall be filed with Intermediate Court while the appeal against an order rendered by Intermediate Court shall be filed
with the High Court.
The appeal against an order rendered by the Military Court shall be filed with Military High Court.
An order rendered on appeal shall not be subject to appeal.
The appeal against an order of provisional detention or provisional release shall not preclude the adjudication of the case on its merits.
The court seized of an appeal against an order of provisional detention or provisional release shall examine the appeal even if the court seized of the case at first instance is seized to hear the case on its merits.
Article 114: Time limits for appeal
The time limits for appeal shall be five (5) days. The period shall start from the date the order is rendered if the appeal is lodged by the Public Prosecution or from the date the suspect is notified of the order, if the appeal is lodged by the suspect.
Article 115: Filing an appeal
The notice of appeal shall be filed with the registry of the court that rendered the order
or with the registry of the court expected to hear such an appeal.
A court registrar who receives a notice of appeal shall record in writing observations or grounds of appeal given by the suspect in support of his/her appeal and attach to the notice all other documents submitted by the suspect intended for the court expected to hear the appeal. The court registry shall issue him/her an acknowledgement of receipt.
A court registrar who receives a notice of appeal and the accompanying documents shall immediately forward them to the registrar of the court expected to hear the appeal.
Article 116: Upholding the status quo of the suspect
During the period of appeal and before the appellate court rules on the case, the suspect shall continue to be in the same state as the court ordered, until the appellate court decides otherwise.
Article 117: Time limits to examine an appeal
The court seized of the appeal on the provisional detention or release court order
must examine the appeal within five (5) days from the date the appeal was filed. The decision must be taken within five (5) days of the closing of the proceedings by the court.
If the appellant does not reside in the area where the court holds its hearings or has no legal counsel, the court may rule on the case basing only on written submissions of the appellant.
Article 118: Order of provisional detention or that of extension of provisional detention in the appellate instance
If the court seized of the appeal overturns an order of provisional release or extension of provisional detention of the suspect, it shall order provisional detention of the suspect for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days.
Such period shall commence from the date the order of the appellate court comes into effect.
Article 119: Prohibition of re-detention of person who has been provisionally released A suspect in respect of whom provisional detention or extension of provisional detention is not granted shall not be subject
to another arrest warrant for the same offence, unless new and serious grounds justifying further detention emerge.
CHAPTER VI: SPECIAL PROVISIONS ON PROVISIONAL DETENTION AND PROVISIONAL RELEASE
Article 120: Application for release
If the Public Prosecution finds that there is no reason to prosecute the suspect held in provisional detention, it must apply for his/her release.
The judge examining the application for release of the suspect must render a decision within forty eight (48) hours after the court is seized of the application.
Article 121: Status of the suspect when the court is seized to hear the case on its merits
If the accused is held in provisional detention or granted provisional release before the court is seized to hear the case on its merits, his/her status remains the same until judgement.
However, when the court is seized to hear the case on its merits, the period of provisional detention shall not exceed the maximum period of imprisonment provided by law for the offense alleged against the accused.
The suspect held in provisional detention may petition the court seized of the initial claim against him/her to overturn the order of provisional detention or to order his/her provisional release.
The court shall rule on the application for provisional release before hearing the case on its merits.
The suspect held in provisional detention following a court order shall not be released unless his/her release is ordered by the court. In that case, the court shall render a decision annulling the first order.
A judgment shall be delivered in the manner and within the time period provided for under Article 101 of this Law.
If the court orders provisional release, Articles 107 and 108 of this Law shall apply.
Article 122: Appeal against a court order of provisional detention or provisional
The Public Prosecution shall only appeal against a court order provided for under Article 121 of this Law if such an order grants release of a person held in detention before trial.
The suspect shall only appeal if the court order confirms provisional detention before trial. The status of the suspect within the prescribed time limits for appeal and in case of appeal until the final decision shall remain the same as ordered by the first judge.
The appellant shall appeal in the manner and within the time limits provided for under Articles 112, 114 and 115 of this Law.
The appeal shall be filed with the competent court in accordance with Article 113 of this Law. The court shall rule on the case in accordance with Article 117 of this Law.
Article 123: Re-detention of a suspect
The Public Prosecution shall verify whether the suspect granted provisional release by the court complies with the obligations imposed. If the suspect does not comply with the obligations imposed, the Public Prosecution may apply to the court for
sending him/her back to provisional detention.
The court order may be subject to appeal only once and the appeal against it shall be heard in the manner provided under Article 117 of this Law.
TITLE III: PROSECUTION OF THE ACCUSED BEFORE THE COURTS
CHAPTER ONE: FILING A CASE BEFORE THE COURT
Article 124: Presumption of having seized a court
A court shall be presumed to have been seized in the following circumstances:
1° if the Public Prosecution decides to conduct prosecution by transmitting a complete criminal case file to a competent court;
2° if the victim brings a case before the court by way of private prosecution in the circumstances provided under Article 144 of this Law.
The Public Prosecution or the person who
brings a case before the court by way of private prosecution may withdraw the case if considered unnecessary to conduct prosecution.
Article 125: Court’s initiative to take up a case
The court may on its own initiative take up a case if an offense of contempt of court is committed.
The court may also take up a case when receiving a case file transferred by another court.
Article 126: Prosecution of co-offenders or accomplices
If during the hearing the court finds that there is incriminating evidence against persons alleged to have acted as coperpetrators or accomplices of the accused, the court may order them to appear in order to furnish explanations with respect to the case.
If the persons so summoned do not appear, the court shall order the Public Prosecution to compel them to appear.
If the court interrogates the persons summoned in the manner provided for under
Paragraphs One and 2 of this Article and finds that there is no incriminating evidence against them, the court shall continue with the hearing without summoning them to appear once again. If the court is not satisfied with the explanations given by the persons so summoned and finds that there is incriminating evidence against them, the court shall order the Public Prosecution to conduct investigation basing on the facts uncovered during the hearing in order to take them to court. The Public Prosecution shall be bound to comply with such a court order.
CHAPTER II: SUMMONING OF PARTIES
Article 127: Summons to appear before court
The summons to appear before court shall be issued by the court registrar based on the decision of the President of the court setting the hearing date.
The summons must specify at least the names, domicile or residence of the accused, charges against him/her, the court before which to appear, place, date and time of appearance.
The summons shall be served by a court
bailiff or a court registrar and its copy shall be given to the Prosecutor, the accused, the person liable to pay damages or any other summoned person.
The summons shall be served on the person summoned to appear or at his/her place of residence.
Article 128: Summons served at the place of residence of the summoned person
The summons shall be served at the summoned person’s known domicile in Rwanda. If the summoned person has no known domicile in Rwanda but has a known residence, the summons shall be served at his/her residence.
Article 129: Persons on whom the summons is served in the absence of the summoned person
If the summoned person cannot be found, the summons shall be served on his/her spouse, employer, relative or a relative to his/her spouse or on his /her employee living in his/her place of domicile or residence and aged at least sixteen (16) years. If neither of them is found, the summons shall be served on the Executive Secretary of the Cell of his/her domicile or residence.
A copy of the summons returned to the court must bear the date of service and signature of the summoned person or the signature and names of the person on whom the summons was served and his/her relationship with the summoned person.
Article 130: Other means of serving a summons
The summons may also be served by sending a copy thereof in a sealed envelope sent as registered mail or carried by a messenger required to return an acknowledgment of receipt bearing the date and the signature of the summoned person or that of one of the persons mentioned in Article 129 of this Law, specifying his/her relationship with the summoned person.
Article 131: Summons through electronic channels
The summons may be sent using an email and any other electronic channels. Such a summons shall comply with the provisions of Article 127 of this Law and require an acknowledgement of receipt by the person on whom it is served.
Article 132: Summons by public notice
Service of a summons by public notice shall be made by posting a copy of the summons in a visible place on the court premises determined by the court seized of the case in addition to posting the extract of such summons at the seats of all Intermediate Courts and making it public using any other channel the court may deem appropriate within a period of two (2) months.
Service of summons provided for under Paragraph One of this Article shall be accompanied by the publication of the order of the President of the Court compelling the accused to appear within the prescribed time limits and informing him/her that he/she is expected to collect a copy of the complaint from the court registry.
The order shall be published in one stateowned newspaper and if necessary, in another independent newspaper with wide circulation determined by the President of the Court.
The President of the Court may order that the summons be published using any other appropriate means such as radio, television or any other electronic channel.
The order shall be published in Kinyarwanda. However, if necessary, the
President of the Court may order its publication in French or English or both.
Article 133: Proof of summons by public notice
Service by public notice shall be evidenced by the deposit into the court registry of a copy of the page of the newspaper in which the summons was published.
Article 134: Summons addressed to legal entities
The summons addressed to legal entities shall be served at their registered office or at any of their branch office. The summons shall be given to the person responsible for receiving mails.
If the registered office of such legal entities is unknown, the summons shall be served in the manner provided for under Article 132 of this Law.
Article 135: Summoning a person with known residence abroad
If the summoned person has no domicile or residence in Rwanda but has known residence abroad, a copy of the summons shall be posted on a notice board in the premises of the court expected to hear the
case and at any other place determined by the court, with another copy being immediately sent to the summoned person through the post office or through the Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs who then issues an acknowledgement of receipt.
If the summoned person has no known residence or domicile in Rwanda or abroad, a copy of the summons shall be posted on a notice board in the premises of the court expected to hear the case and any other place determined by the court, with extracts being made public using any other channel the court deems appropriate.
Article 136: Time limits for the appearance of the accused or the person liable for damages
The time limits for the appearance of the accused or the person liable for damages shall be eight (8) days, but excluding the date of receipt of the summons and that of appearance.
The time limits for the appearance of persons having no known residence or domicile in Rwanda or abroad shall be two (2) months. If the summons is served on a person in his/her country of residence while he/she neither domiciles nor resides in Rwanda, the
time limit for appearance shall be one (1) month. The court may extend such time limit if deemed necessary.
Article 137: Shortening the time limits for appearance
The President of the court may by reasoned order which must be notified to the accused at the time of service of summons on him/her or, if necessary, to the person liable for damages, shorten the eight (8)-day time limit provided under Paragraph One of Article 136 of this Law if the accused committed a petty offence, was caught redhanded, admits guilt or immediately appears, is charged with rape and for such other reasons as the court may deem relevant.
Article 138: Time limits for appearance in case of a summons by mail, by a messenger or by posting in an appropriate place
If the summons is sent through the post office or a messenger, the time limits for appearance shall start from the date the post or messenger delivers it to the summoned person.
If the summons is posted on a notice board in the court premises and at such other place
as may be determined by the court, the time limits for appearance shall start from the date of the posting on the court premises.
CHAPTER III: CIVIL ACTION ARISING FROM AN OFFENCE
Article 139: Filing a civil action
A person aggrieved by an offence who wishes to sue for damages may either file an action in a criminal court or a civil court.
However, once the aggrieved person chooses to file his/her action in one court, either criminal or civil, he/she cannot later file the same action in another court.
Section One: A civil action filed in a criminal court
Sub-section One: Civil action within criminal proceedings
Article 140: Period for filing a civil action within criminal proceedings
A person aggrieved by an offence may, from the filing of the case in the court to the
closing of the proceedings, bring before a competent court an action for recovery of damages by giving notice of the action in the court registry or in the course of the hearing with an acknowledgment of receipt. The court shall notify parties involved in the case of the notice.
Article 141: Withdrawal of a civil action within criminal proceedings
A person aggrieved by an offence who files a civil action within criminal proceedings may withdraw the action at any time until the closing of the proceedings by giving notice in the course of the hearing or in the registry of the court seized of the action.
If the withdrawal of the action is made by giving notice in the court registry, the registrar shall notify parties involved in the case of the notice.
Sub-section 2: Filing a civil action by way of private prosecution
Article 142: Definition of a civil action by way of private prosecution
A civil action by way of private prosecution is a claim a person aggrieved by an offence files in a criminal court demanding that the offender, his/her co-offender or accomplice be punished and ordered to pay for the damages caused.
Article 143: Clarifying allegations against the accused
A person who files an action by way of private prosecution must clearly indicate allegations against the accused to enable him/her to properly prepare his/her case expeditiously.
If there are aggravating circumstances, they must also be indicated in the complaint to enable the accused to present his/her defence accordingly.
Article 144: Circumstances in which a person files a civil action by way of private prosecution
Filing a civil action by private prosecution shall take place when a criminal case file is closed without further action or when a period of six (6) months for petty offenses and one (1) year for misdemeanours and felonies elapses without the Public Prosecution taking action after the case is brought to its attention.
The time limits provided for under Paragraph One of this Article shall be counted from the time the case is referred to the Public Prosecution or from the time a criminal case file is forwarded to the Public Prosecution from the Judicial Police. The court seized shall notify the Public Prosecution with an obligation to get involved in the case.
Article 145: Withdrawal of a civil action filed by way of private prosecution
A person aggrieved by an offence who filed a civil action by way of private prosecution may withdraw the action at any time before the closing of the proceedings by giving notice in the course of the hearing or in the registry of the court seized of the action. If the withdrawal is made by giving notice in the court registry, the registrar shall notify parties involved in the case.
However, the withdrawal of a civil action filed by way of private prosecution shall in no way prevent the continuation of criminal proceedings.
Section 2: A civil action filed before a civil court
Article 146: A civil action arising from an offence
2° the convicted person.
If the convicted person or the victim of the offense is dead or declared missing, the application for review may be filed by his/her spouse, child or other legally recognized heirs or legatees or those who received from him/her explicit mission to apply for review.
Article 194: Grounds for application for review
The application for review may be filed on the following grounds:
1° after the accused is convicted of homicide and subsequently discovered sufficient evidence showing that the person alleged to have been killed is alive;
2° after the accused is convicted of an offence, it is subsequently found that there is a judgment sentencing another person for the same offence, so that the contradiction between both judgments shows that one of the convicted persons is innocent;
3° if the court finds that corruption was involved in the case and had effects on the judgment;
4° if, the judgment is rendered based on documents, testimonies or oaths which later turn out or are subsequently declared by the court to be false;
5° if, after the judgment, conclusive evidence sufficiently showing injustice caused by the judgment subject to review is uncovered; while such evidence was submitted in the case file but was not seen by the court;
6° if the judgment is based on a proceeding taken on behalf of a person who did not explicitly or implicitly grant permission to do so or approve or confirm such a proceeding.
Article 195: Competent court for review
The application for review shall be filed before the court having rendered the contested judgment at last instance.
The bench must be composed of at least three (3) judges excluding those who were part of the bench which previously ruled on the same case.
The decision on the application for review shall not be subject to any procedure of appeal.
Article 196: Time limit for application for review
The application for review must be filed within two (2) months from the date the event giving rise to the application for review occurred.
Article 197: Damages for moral prejudice caused by the penalty
Upon request by the party applying for review, when the case subject to review shows that a person was convicted despite his/her innocence, the court may award him/her damages for moral prejudice suffered as a result of the penalty imposed on him/her.
If the person sentenced as a result of miscarriage of justice is dead, the right to apply for moral damages shall devolve under the same conditions upon his/her
TITLE V: SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS
CHAPTER ONE: PROSECUTION OF A JUVENILE OFFENDER
Article 198: Detention of a juvenile offender
A minor aged below fourteen (14) years shall not be subject to prosecution.
A juvenile offender aged fourteen (14) years shall be subject to prosecution but cannot be detained in the same custody facilities as adult suspects.
However, due to exceptional reasons, a minor aged between twelve (12) and fourteen (14) years for whom there are serious grounds for believing that he/she committed an offence, may, for the purposes of investigation, be held in judicial police custody for a period not exceeding seventy two (72) hours but solely when the offense committed is punishable with imprisonment of at least five (5) years.
Article 199: Rehabilitation of a juvenile offender
A Judicial Police Officer or a Prosecutor in charge of case file shall do everything in his/her powers and conduct necessary investigation to establish the truth about the personality of the juvenile offender and identify appropriate means for his/her rehabilitation.
To that end, he/she may issue all necessary warrants or order judicial supervision in compliance with rules of general law.
A judicial Police Officer or a Prosecutor, shall gather all evidence concerning all the aspects of the minor’s life including his/her character and history, his/her educational background and school behaviour and conditions in which he/she has been raised.
A Prosecutor may order a medical examination and, where applicable, require a psychological examination for the minor. He/she shall decide to put the minor in a place conducive to the supervision of his/her behaviour.
Article 200: Decision that may be taken against a juvenile offender
After the procedure provided for under Article 199 of this Law is completed, the Prosecutor may :
1° release the minor if he/she considers that there is no sufficient incriminating evidence against him/her and return him/her to the parents, guardians or custodians;
2° take the juvenile offender to a competent court;
3° put the minor in a public rehabilitation centre pending a court decision.
Article 201: A specialised chamber competent to try a minor A specialised chamber competent to try a minor shall be the one situated in the area where the offence was committed, where the minor resides or his/her parents or guardians domicile or reside, where the minor was found or where he/she was placed by the court.
Article 202: Trying a minor and his/her co-accused
A minor aged above fourteen (14) years but below eighteen (18) years shall be tried by the specialised chamber for minors in accordance with rules of general law.
A specialized chamber for minors shall adjudicate the case after hearing the minor, witnesses, his/her parents, guardian or custodian, the Public Prosecution and his/her legal counsel. It shall also try his/her co-accused or accomplices having reached the age of majority, if it considers it necessary.
Article 203: Right to legal counsel
A juvenile offender being prosecuted must be assisted by a legal counsel starting from judicial police investigation up to court proceedings. If a juvenile offender or his/her guardians cannot choose a legal counsel for him/her, the Judicial Police or the Public Prosecution shall request the President of the Bar Association to assign a legal counsel to him/her.
If the Public Prosecution fails to do so, the judge shall ask the President of the Bar Association to assign a legal counsel for the minor.
Article 204: Measure taken by the specialised chamber for minors
A specialised chamber for minors shall, depending on the case filed, take measures for the protection of the minor, assistance, supervision or education it considers
Article 205: A civil action against a minor
A civil action against a minor and the person with civil responsibility over the minor shall be filed in the specialised chamber for minors.
If one or several minors are jointly charged with one or several adults, a claim for damages shall be filed in the court competent to try adults. In that case, the minor shall not appear in court in person and shall rather appear through his/her legally recognized representative.
If neither a minor nor his/her representative fails to choose a legal counsel, he/she shall be entitled to have a legal counsel assigned to him/her.
Article 206: Determination of minority of a juvenile offender
The time of commission of an offence shall serve as the basis for the determination of the minority of a juvenile offender.
A juvenile offender prosecuted by the Public Prosecution shall be tried by the specialised chamber for minors even if the trial is conducted after he/she attains the majority
CHAPTER II: PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES COMMITTED OUTSIDE THE RWANDAN TERRITORY
Article 207: Prosecution of a Rwandan having committed an offense outside the Rwandan territory
A Rwandan national who commits a felony or a misdemeanour outside the Rwandan territory, may be prosecuted and tried by Rwandan courts in accordance with the Rwandan laws as if the offence had been committed on the Rwandan territory if such an offence is punishable under Rwandan law.
Article 208: Prosecuting an offence committed in no man’s land
An offence shall be deemed to have been committed on the Rwandan territory if it is committed by or against a Rwandan national in no man’s land or committed by any person on board a vessel flying the flag of Rwanda and in waters in no man’s land or on board a Rwanda registered aircraft in no man’s land.
Article 209: International or cross-border crimes
Rwandan courts may prosecute and try any person, whether Rwandan or foreigner, a Rwandan or foreign non-governmental organisation or association that commits, inside or outside the Rwandan territory, an international crime or a cross-border crime as provided for by the Penal Code of Rwanda.
Article 210: Trying international or crossborder crimes
When Rwandan courts try crimes provided for under Article 209 of this Law, the President of the Supreme Court may, in the interest of justice and for the sake of conforming proceedings to the international jurisprudence, seek upon own initiative or request by the accused, his/her legal counsel or by national or foreign Public Prosecution, judicial cooperation from the United Nations, any other international organisation or foreign country by requesting them to send judges to Rwanda to sit alongside Rwandan judges to try cases of international and cross-border crimes committed on the Rwandan territory or
abroad , the transfer of which to Rwanda is sought and which are provided under the Organic Law on the organization, functioning and jurisdiction of courts.
Such cases shall be tried both at first instance and appeal level by a bench of at least three (3) judges. The request for a judge from a foreign country shall be made in accordance with cooperation procedure between countries and international organisations.
Article 211: Prosecution of an offence committed against Rwanda or against a Rwandan national outside the Rwandan territory
A Rwandan national or a non-national who commits a felony or a misdemeanour outside the Rwandan territory may be prosecuted and sentenced by Rwandan courts in accordance with the Rwandan laws if the offence is committed against Rwanda or a Rwandan national at the time of the commission of the offense.
CHAPTER III: PROSECUTION AND TRIAL IN ABTENTIA OF A FUGITIVE SUSPECT
Article 212: A fugitive suspect
If the suspect, whether he/she is in Rwanda or in a foreign country, is not arrested because he/she hides or escapes justice, the Public Prosecution shall prepare a file for him/her and submit it to the competent court even if the suspect was not interrogated. After receiving the file, the court shall order the accused to appear within one (1) month, failing which the court shall declare that he/she has disobeyed the law.
Article 213: Publication of the order
The court order provided for under Article 212 of this Law shall, within a period of eight (8) days, be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda or a newspaper determined by the court and posted at the office of the Sector, District or Kigali City at the place specified by the authorities of such administrative entities.
Article 214: Trying a fugitive offender
If the fugitive accused fails to respect the time limits provided for under Article 212 of this Law, he/she shall be tried in absentia.
The court shall rule on the case based solely on the submissions of the Public Prosecution.
Article 215: Non representation of a fugitive suspect
No fugitive accused shall appear through a representative.
Article 216: Confiscation of the property of a convicted fugitive
If the accused fugitive is found guilty, the court shall determine modalities for the management of his/her property. The property may be confiscated or seized and sold by auction, with the proceeds being used to pay for damages to the victims of the offence.
Article 217: Publication of the extract of the judgement
The extract of the judgment shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda, on the website or in a
newspaper determined by the judge having tried the case at the instigation of the Prosecutor General, the Military Prosecutor General or a Chief Prosecutor at intermediate level. It shall also be posted at the notice board of the court having tried the case and at the office of the District and Sector where the offence was committed and any other place determined by the court.
Article 218: Loss of civil rights
After the publication provided for under Article 217 of this Law is completed, a convicted fugitive accused shall be stripped of all civil rights as provided for under the Penal Code.
Article 219: Prosecution of the co-accused of a fugitive accused
The prosecution of the co-accused of a fugitive offender who are identified shall in no way be stayed or delayed by reason of awaiting the prosecution of the fugitive accused.
Article 220: Resumption of prosecution of a fugitive accused
If a convicted fugitive accused surrenders himself/herself to the Judicial Police, to the Public Prosecution or to the prison administration or is arrested before the limitation period for the enforcement of the penalty, the judgement and proceedings conducted from the time the fugitive is ordered to appear until the pronouncement of the judgment shall become null and void and the prosecution shall be restarted in accordance with the ordinary procedure.
If the judgment ordering confiscation of his/her property for the benefit of the State or seizure of such property is altered, the property shall be restituted to him/her in its current state.
If the property of the convicted person is sold by auction and the person is subsequently acquitted in retrial, the State shall pay him/her damages equal to the value of his/her property sold.
If a person is acquitted in retrial of the case in which he/she was convicted, civil parties shall refund damages received.
Article 221: Retrial of a fugitive offender
In the case provided for under Paragraph
One of Article 220 of this Law, if for any reason witnesses fail to attend the new proceedings that are restarted, their written testimonies and written replies of other persons accused of the same offence who were not present during the hearing are read out in the hearing. The same shall apply to all other necessary documents required to establish the truth.
CHAPTER IV: PROSECUTION OF PERSONS WITH PRIVELEGE OF JURISDICTION AND THAT OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Section One: Prosecution of persons with privilege of jurisdiction
Article 222: Persons with privilege of jurisdiction
A Judicial Police Officer or a Prosecutor who receives a complaint against or personally observes an offence committed by the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Supreme Court or the Prime Minister shall immediately transmit the case file to the Prosecutor General. The Prosecutor General shall himself/herself conduct investigation and prosecute them before the Supreme
Court. In case of his/her absence, he/she shall be replaced by the Deputy Prosecutor General.
However, accomplices of such persons may be interrogated by a Judicial Police Officer or a Prosecutor before transmitting the case file to the Prosecutor General.
Article 223: Grounds for the privilege of jurisdiction and time of consideration
The privilege of jurisdiction shall serve to protect responsibilities vested in an official but not the official as an individual.
The privilege of jurisdiction shall be determined taking into account the responsibilities which were vested in the offender at the time of the commission of the offence.
Article 224: Procedure for application of the privilege of jurisdiction
If a person is prosecuted for an offence committed while still holding the office to which the privilege is attached, he/she shall enjoy the privilege of jurisdiction.
If a person is prosecuted for an offence
committed before holding an office to which the privilege is attached, he/she shall enjoy the privilege of jurisdiction if he/she is prosecuted while holding such an office.
However, if a person who no longer holds an office to which the privilege is attached is prosecuted for an offence committed while holding an office to which the privilege is attached, he/she shall lose the privilege of jurisdiction.
Section 2: Prosecution of Members of Parliament
Article 225: Procedure for prosecuting members of Parliament
No member of the Parliament suspected of a felony or misdemeanor may be prosecuted or arrested without the authorization of the Chamber to which he/she belongs by voting with a majority of two thirds (2/3) of members present, except where a member of the Parliament is caught in red-handed committing a felony or a court of law has passed a final penalty against him/her.
The Prosecutor General shall have the power to ask the concerned Chamber of Parliament for authorisation to prosecute one of its members.
TITLE VI: EXECUTION OF JUDGMENTS
Article 226: Execution of judgments
Persons responsible for executing judgments are the following:
1° professional court bailiffs;
2° non-professional bailiffs provided under the law governing the bailiff function.
Article 227: Persons responsible for monitoring the execution of judgements
Persons responsible for monitoring the execution of judgements are the following :
1° the Public Prosecution, in case of imprisonment penalty, damages awarded by a court on its own motion and additional penalty;
2° Rwanda National Police or local government officers empowered to do so by the Minister in charge of
justice in case of community service as alternative penalty to imprisonment;
3° civil party with respect to the damages awarded to him/her;
4° a court registrar with respect to the collection of fines and court fees.
Article 228: Release of an accused person who is acquitted
Without prejudice to the provisions of Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 182 of this Law, an accused who is acquitted shall be immediately released by the Prison Director upon presentation of a copy of judgment.
If the provisions of Paragraph One of this Article and Paragraph One of Article 182 of this Law are not enforced by retaining the acquitted person in prison, the judge may take measures provided for under Articles 90 and 91 of this Law.
CHAPTER ONE: IMPRISONMENT
Article 229: Serving imprisonment penalty
Imprisonment penalty shall be served in
A law shall provide for rights of prisoners and activities they are required to perform.
Article 230: Detention facilities for women and minors
Women and minors shall serve their imprisonment penalty in special cells reserved for them in prisons.
Article 231: Modalities for serving imprisonment penalties
Modalities for serving imprisonment penalties shall be determined by an Order of the Minister in charge of justice.
CHAPTER II: FINE
Article 232: Payment of fine and court fees
Fine and court fees shall be paid to the Court Registrar within a period of eight (8) days from the date of final judgment.
The President of the Court having rendered the judgement may extend the payment period up to six (6) months.
However, the payment of fine and court fees may be ordered to be made immediately after
pronouncement of the judgment if both parties are present or from the time of notification to
parties when the judgment is pronounced in the absence of either party if there is a reason to fear that the convicted person may escape execution of the penalties.
In that case, the Court Registrar shall ask a convicted person either in writing or by registered mail to pay fine and court fees within the time limits he/she prescribes.
Article 233: Injunction to pay within the prescribed time limits
The pronouncement of a judgement in the presence of both parties and its notification when pronounced in the absence of either party shall be deemed to be an injunction to pay within the time limits prescribed by the court.
If the convicted person does not pay in the prescribed time limits, he/she shall be forced to pay.
CHAPTER III: COMMUNITY SERVICE AS ALTERNATIVE PENALTY TO IMPRISONMENT
Article 234: Modalities for the execution of community service as alternative penalty to imprisonment
A Presidential Order shall determine modalities for the execution of community service as alternative penalty to imprisonment. . CHAPTER IV: COMMON PROVISION
Article 235: Provisional execution of a judgement
Provisional execution of a judgement shall be prohibited in criminal cases, except in matters relating to the restitution of property or payment of damages.
TITLE VII: GROUNDS FOR SUSPENSION OF THE EXECUTION OF A PENALTY
CHAPTER ONE: PRESIDENTIAL PARDON
Article 236: Collective or individual pardon
The power to grant collective or individual pardon shall be exercised by the President of the Republic at his/her sole discretion and in public interests.
Presidential pardon shall remit in whole or in part penalties imposed or commute them to less severe form of penalties.
Article 237: Penalties subject to Presidential pardon
Presidential pardon may apply to main and additional penalties resulting from a judgment that has become final.
If a penalty has been partly executed, Presidential pardon may apply to the whole or part of the remainder of such a penalty.
A penalty with suspension shall not be subject to Presidential pardon unless the suspension is removed.
Article 238: Procedure of applying for Presidential pardon
Application for Presidential pardon shall be in writing and addressed to the President of the Republic with a copy to the Minister in charge of justice.
Application for individual Presidential pardon shall be lodged by a convicted person or his/her representative. The application shall indicate justifying reasons.
Application for collective Presidential pardon shall be lodged by the Minister in charge of justice and indicate justifying reasons.
In all cases, the National Public Prosecution Authority shall be informed of any application for Presidential pardon and provide advice thereon within three (3) months.
Article 239: Report on the application files for Presidential pardon
After the Public Prosecution has completed investigation, application files for Presidential pardon shall be sent to the Minister in charge of justice who, after providing advice, makes a report to the President of the Republic within three (3) months for a final decision.
Article 240: Communicating a decision granting or denying Presidential pardon
A decision granting or denying Presidential pardon shall be communicated to the applicant by the Minister in charge of justice.
Article 241: Modalities for implementing Presidential pardon
Presidential pardon may be granted unconditionally or subject to conditions indicated in the decision. If the conditions are not complied with, Presidential pardon shall be automatically revoked and execution of the penalty resumed.
The prescriptive period of the penalty shall be suspended during the period between the notification of Presidential pardon to the
recipient and its revocation.
Article 242: Ban on entry into a place or restriction of movements
Any person sentenced to life imprisonment which is commuted to a lesser form of penalty or remitted by Presidential pardon shall be automatically subject to ban on entry into a place or restriction of movements for a period of ten (10) years unless otherwise provided for in the decision granting Presidential pardon.
In accordance with the Penal Code, any person sentenced to life imprisonment with special provisions may be granted Presidential pardon in the manner provided for under Paragraph One of this Article.
Article 243: Effects of Presidential pardon
Presidential pardon shall not entail termination of additional penalties which are not specified therein or effects of conviction especially those relating to recidivism, placement under the Government’s custody, suspension of the enforcement of a penalty in case of prosecution of subsequent offences and civil convictions such as restitution of property and payment of damages.
Article 244: Suspension of execution of penalties
The execution of a penalty consisting in fine or imprisonment not exceeding three (3) months which has not yet commenced shall be suspended during the time of investigation until the decision on Presidential pardon is made. However, in any case, the Minister in charge of justice may, during the period of investigation, order the suspension of enforcement of penalties which is pending or has already commenced.
CHAPTER II: RELEASE ON PAROLE OF THE CONVICTED PERSON
Article 245: Grounds for release on parole
A person who is sentenced to one or several imprisonment penalties or placed under the Government’s custody may be granted release on parole on the following conditions:
1° if he/she sufficiently demonstrates good behaviour and gives serious pledges of social rehabilitation;
2° if he/she suffers from serious and incurable disease approved by a medical committee composed of at least three (3) recognized doctors;
3° if he/she has already served his/her penalty for a period of time provided for under Article 246 of this Law depending on the offences of which he/she was convicted.
A person who satisfies any of the conditions provided for under items 1º and 2º of Paragraph One of this Article must also satisfy the condition provided under item 3º to be granted release on parole.
Article 246: Period of imprisonment to be completed before applying for release on parole
Release on parole may be granted to the applicant under the following conditions:
1° if he/she was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years and has served at least one third (1/3) of the penalty;
2° if he/she was sentenced to a term of imprisonment more than five (5) years and has served at least two-thirds (2/3) of the
3° if he/she was sentenced to life imprisonment or life imprisonment with special provisions, he/she may be granted release on parole only after serving at least twenty (20) years.
Article 247: Application procedure for release on parole
Application for release on parole shall be addressed to the Minister in charge of justice.
Release on parole shall be approved by an Order of the Minister in charge of justice after seeking advice from the Public Prosecution and prison Director.
The decision granting release on parole shall not be subject to appeal.
Article 248: Revocation of release on parole
The Minister in charge of justice upon request by the Public Prosecution may revoke release on parole if the person is sentenced for another offence, shows gross misconduct or breaches conditions imposed
by release on parole order.
In cases of emergency, the Prosecutor General, Military Prosecutor General, Chief Prosecutor at Intermediate level or the Prosecutor at Primary level may order that a person granted release on parole be rearrested and immediately inform the Minister in charge of justice thereof.
Article 249: Effects of revocation of release on parole
A person whose release on parole is revoked must serve the whole or part of the remainder of the penalty to be served at the time of release on parole being combined with any other penalty that may have been subsequently imposed on him/her.
Article 250: Full enjoyment of freedom
If release on parole is not revoked before the expiry of a period equal to a remainder of the penalty to be served at the time of release on parole, the convicted person shall fully enjoy his/her freedom. In that case, the penalty shall be deemed to be completed from the date release on parole
Article 251: Limitation period for the execution of penalties
The limitation period for the enforcement of penalties shall be suspended when a convicted person is released on parole through an Order that has not been revoked.
CHAPTER III: SUSPENSION OF A PENALTY
Article 252: Suspension of enforcement of the whole or part of penalties
If the convicted person was not previously given other imprisonment penalties exceeding six (6) months each, the court may through a reasoned order suspend execution of all or part of the main or additional penalties imposed provided that the main penalty imposed does not exceed five (5) years.
Article 253: Suspended penalty deemed null and void
A suspended penalty shall be deemed null and void if, within a prescribed period which is not less than one year and not more than five (5) years, the convicted person is not
subsequently prosecuted and convicted of a new offence committed after the decision granting suspension of the enforcement of penalties has become final.
Otherwise, penalties of which enforcement has been suspended and those subsequently imposed shall be combined and enforced.
Article 254: Effects of suspension of penalty
Suspension of penalty shall not prevent the payment of court fees and damages. Nor shall it extend to the deprivation of rights as a result of conviction. However, deprivation of rights shall cease to have effect on the date the offence becomes null and void.
TITLE VIII: GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL OF A PENALTY
CHAPTER ONE : AMNESTY
Article 255: Definition of amnesty
Amnesty means pardon granted to persons in connection with the penalties which were imposed on them. Amnesty shall be granted
in public interests depending on the current or previous state of the Nation.
Amnesty shall be initiated by the Government and approved by the Parliament.
An amnesty law shall not list the names of individuals granted amnesty. It shall rather state offences or categories of persons subject to the amnesty.
Article 256: Effects of amnesty
Amnesty shall extinguish criminal liability. It shall extinguish imposed penalty and all the consequences of the offense.
If there is ideal concurrence of offences, amnesty shall apply to all the concurrent offences, if the offence covered by amnesty is punishable with a penalty heavier than or equal to other penalties imposed even if the judges would have imposed a lesser penalty after accepting mitigating circumstances of the offence covered by amnesty.
If there is real concurrence of offences, amnesty shall only apply to the offence covered by amnesty.
Article 257: Amnesty subject to
An amnesty law may provide for conditions to be observed.
Article 258: Exercise of civil action in case of amnesty
Amnesty shall in no way affect damages awarded in a criminal case or rights acquired by third parties under a judgement.
Amnesty shall in no way affect disciplinary sanction.
CHAPTER II: REHABILITATION
Article 259: A person who may be rehabilitated
Any person who is convicted of a felony or misdemeanour may be rehabilitated.
Article 260: Time required before applying for rehabilitation
Rehabilitation may be granted after five (5) years if during that time a convicted person has continuously and effectively demonstrated good behaviour.
Such time shall run from the date the conviction becomes final for a person sentenced to a fine and in case of a person sentenced to imprisonment, from the date of final release or that of release on parole that has not been revoked.
For recidivists and convicted persons whose penalty is extinguished by prescription, such time shall be ten (10) years from the date of release or from the start of the limitation period for the enforcement of penalties.
Article 261: Conditions for rehabilitation
A convicted person must prove payment of court fees, fines and damages or an exemption from payment thereof, unless the limitation period for the execution of the judgement has expired. If the convicted person fails to prove it, he/she must prove that the Government or victims decide not to claim against him/her.
However, if the convicted person proves that he/she is extremely poor so that he/she could
not afford to pay pecuniary penalties, he/she may be granted rehabilitation whether pecuniary penalties are not paid or are paid in part.
Article 262: Determining the pecuniary amount to be paid by a person applying for rehabilitation
In case there are persons who are jointly and severally liable, but the person applying for rehabilitation cannot afford to pay the entire pecuniary amount ordered by the court, the court may determine the amount to be paid by the applicant.
Article 263: Disposal of the pecuniary amount that is not received by a person to whom it is awarded
If the victim of an offence cannot be found our refuses to take the pecuniary amount awarded to him/her, such an amount shall be kept in the State Treasury.
If the recipient party does not collect the money within five (5) years, the pecuniary amount shall devolve on the State Treasury.
Article 264: Applying for rehabilitation
A convicted person shall apply for
rehabilitation in writing to the High Court or the Military High Court for cases tried by military courts. The application shall specify the date of conviction and all places where the convicted person has lived since the time of release.
The application file shall be forwarded to the Public Prosecution for advice on the conduct of the person applying for rehabilitation. The Public Prosecution shall request copies of judgement against the convicted person, a copy from the register of the detention facilities indicating the penalty served and a copy of criminal record.
The High Court or the Military High Court shall decide on the submissions of the Public Prosecution within two (2) months after hearing or duly summoning the applicant or his/her legal counsel.
Article 265: Rejecting the application for rehabilitation
If the application for rehabilitation is rejected, it shall not be re-submitted before the expiration of two (2) years.
If the first application is rejected due to nonobservance of the time provided for under
Article 260 of this Law, the application may be renewed only after the expiration of the prescribed period of time.
Article 266: Revocation of rehabilitation
Rehabilitation shall extinguish not only a penalty but also all the deprivation of rights.
However, rehabilitation shall be automatically revoked if, within a period of five (5) years, the person granted rehabilitation commits an offence punishable with imprisonment equal to or exceeding five (5) years and for which he/she has been sentenced. In that case, the Public Prosecution shall petition the High Court or the Military High Court, depending on the competence, to decide on the revocation of rehabilitation after duly summoning the applicant or his/her legal counsel.
In case of revocation, rehabilitation shall be as if it had never been granted.
TITLE IX: COURT FEES
CHAPTER ONE: DEPOSIT OF COURT FEES
Article 267: Deposit of court fees
A party to the proceedings must first prove to the Court Registrar the deposit of court fees as specified by Order of the Minister in charge of justice so that he/she can be allowed to:
1° file an opposition;
2° file an appeal;
3° file a case by way of private prosecution;
4° file a claim of damages;
5° file an application for review.
Court fees paid in the Military Court shall be equal to that paid in an Intermediate Court whereas those paid in the Military High Court shall be equal to those paid in the High Court.
Court fees charged by Primary or Intermediate Courts shall devolve on the District account. Court fees charged by other courts shall devolve on the State Treasury.
Additional court fees to be paid in order to supplement the amount previously deposited shall be determined by the judge. The proof of payment shall be first sent to the Court Registrar as provided for under Paragraph One of this Article, otherwise no further proceeding shall be conducted in favour of the parties. Any dispute relating to court fees claimed by the Court Registrar shall be settled by the President of the court.
The losing party shall pay the court fees. Court fees shall be determined in the same way as in civil cases.
Article 268: Exemption from depositing court fees
The following persons shall be exempted from depositing court fees when filing a case:
1° persons in prison;
2° a destitute with a certificate issued by competent authority;
3° Government of Rwanda with the exception of its corporations with legal status.
Persons provided for under Paragraph One of this Article who do not pay deposit of court fees are also exonerated from paying court fees when they loose the case.
Article 269: Calculation of court fees
The statement of court fees shall be prepared by the Court Registrar. If there is a civil party, the statement shall indicate fees to be deducted from court fees deposited by the civil party and the amount to be paid by the losing party. The statement of court fees shall be verified and signed by the President of the Court.
In case of appeal, the statement of court fees shall be prepared by the Court Registrar of the court seized of the appeal and signed by the President of the court in which such fees are deposited.
Article 270: Court fees withheld
The Court Registrar shall deduct court fees from the amount deposited even if the civil party wins the case. The losing party shall reimburse the winning party for the amount deducted from deposited fees.
However, if the civil party did not initiate the case but his/her case emanates from proceedings already initiated, the court registrar shall only deduct fees associated with those proceedings conducted upon his/her request.
CHAPTER II: RATE OF COURT FEES
Article 271: Determining documents served by courts and their corresponding court fees
In criminal cases, documents served by courts and corresponding court fees shall be determined by an Order of the Minister in charge of justice.
Article 272: Lines on a page of court document
Any page of court documents or judgment shall contain at least twenty five (25) lines.
Article 273: Exemption granted to destitute persons
If the President of the court having rendered the judgment finds that a person is destitute, he/she may issue him/her a copy of judgement bearing an enforcement order, a copy of the judgment, its extract or its copy free of charge.
Article 274: Approval of allowances to be paid to witnesses, medical doctors, interpreters and other experts
Allowances to witnesses, medical doctors, interpreters and other experts and transport fees for court bailiffs shall be approved by the presiding judge after obtaining documents which indicates the following:
1° the date of request of services and the names of the person having been provided with such services;
2° the category of the offence and the name or names of the accused;
3° the type of services, dates of performance and their duration and details of related costs;
4° date or days on which different travels were conducted and their duration and the means of transport used;
5° bank account of the beneficiary and his/her address, if necessary.
The Minister in charge of justice shall determine modalities applicable to the calculation of allowances to witnesses, medical doctors, interpreters and other experts.
Transport fees for medical doctors, court bailiffs, witnesses, interpreters and other experts and allowances shall be included in the budget of the Supreme Court and that of Military Courts. The court may, where necessary, request the parties to pay allowances for experts and interpreters. These fees and allowances shall be paid in the State Treasury by the losing party.
TITLE X: GENERAL PROVISIONS
CHAPTER ONE: SPECIAL PROVISIONS
Article 275: Time limits provided under
laws relating to criminal procedure
Unless the law provides otherwise, the time limits provided for under laws relating to criminal procedure shall follow provisions specified under this chapter.
Article 276: Time limits counted in days or hours
Time limits counted in days and hours shall be counted from midnight to midnight of the following day and shall not include the day of the act or event from which they arise while they shall fully include the day on which they expire.
The appeal period shall in no way be extended, unless an event of force majeure arises until it ceases to exist. Public holidays and non-working days shall be included in the prescribed time limits.
However, when the last day of the time limits coincides with a public holiday or a non-working day, the time limits end on the next working day.
Article 277: Counting periods fixed in months and years
The periods fixed in months and years shall be counted from the first day to the eve of the last day.
CHAPTER II: TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
Article 278: Application of laws relating to criminal procedure
Laws relating to criminal procedure shall apply in Judicial Police, Public Prosecution, Military Prosecution, ordinary and Military courts unless the law provides otherwise.
For the purposes of this Law, the Public Prosecution means the National Public Prosecution Authority and the Military Prosecution. Article 279: Applying civil procedure in criminal matters
All matters that are not provided for under this Law shall be handled in accordance with civil procedure rules, unless the civil procedure principles cannot be applicable in
Article 280: Drafting, consideration and adoption of this Law
This law was drafted, considered and adopted in Kinyarwanda.
Article 281: Repealing provision
Law n° 13/2004 of 17/05/2004 relating to the Code of Criminal Procedure as modified and complemented to date and all prior legal provisions inconsistent with this Law are hereby repealed.
Article 282: Commencement
This Law shall come into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda.
Kigali, on ………..
KAGAME Paul President of the Republic
Dr HABUMUREMYI Pierre Damien Prime Minister
Seen and sealed with the Seal of the Republic :
Minister of Justice /Attorney General