CHAPTER ONE- GENERAL PROVISIONSArticle 60
The branches of government are the following :
- the legislature;
- the executive;
- the judiciary.
The three branches are separate and independent from one another but are all complementary. Their responsibilities, organization and functioning are defined by this Constitution.
The State shall ensure that the exercise of legislative, executive and judicial power is vested in people who possess the competence and integrity required to fulfil the respective responsibilities accorded to the three branches.
Before taking office, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the Prime Minister, the President of Supreme Court, ministers, ministers of state and other members of Government, senators, deputies, officers of the rank of General and senior officers of Rwanda Defence Forces, commissioners and senior officers of the National Police, the Vice-President and judges of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General of the Republic, the Deputy Prosecutor General and such other persons as may be determined by law shall take oath in these words:
I,â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. solemnly swear to the Nation that I shall:
- diligently fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to me;
- remain loyal to the Republic of Rwanda ;
- observe the Constitution and the other laws;
- work for the consolidation of national unity;
- conscientiously fulfill my duties of representing the Rwandan people without any discrimination whatsoever;
- never use the powers conferred on me for personal ends;
- promote respect for the freedoms and fundamental rights of the human being and safeguard the interests of the Rwandan people.
Should I fail to honour this oath, may I face the rigours of the law.
So help me God.
CHAPTER TWO- THE LEGISLATURE
SECTION 1- Parliament
Sub-section 1- General ProvisionsArticle 62
Legislative power is vested in a Parliament consisting of two chambers:
- 1Â° the Chamber of Deputies, whose members shall have the title of Deputies
- 2Â° the Senate, whose members shall have the title of Senators
Parliament deliberates on and passes laws. It legislates and oversees executive action in accordance with the procedure determined by this Constitution.
In the event of the absolute impossibility of Parliament holding session, the President of the Republic during such period promulgates decree-laws adopted by the Cabinet and those decree-laws have the same effect as ordinary laws.
These decree-laws become null and void if they are not adopted by Parliament at its next session.
- Every Member of Parliament represents the whole nation and not just those who elected or nominated him or her or the political organization on whose ticket he or she stood for election.
- Any imperative mandate is null and void.
- The right of vote of a member of Parliament is ad personam.
Before taking office, Members of Parliament shall take oath before the President of the Republic and, in case of his or her absence, before the President of the Supreme Court.
The first sitting of Parliament shall be convened and presided over by the President of the Republic within fifteen (15) days of the publication of the election results.
On commencement of each term of the legislature, the first sitting shall be devoted to the taking of the oath of office of members of Parliament and the election of the Bureau of each Chamber.
The election of the Bureau of each Chamber shall be presided over by the President of the Republic.
The Bureau of each Chamber of Parliament is made up of the President and two Vice-Presidents and the Speaker and two Deputy Speakers respectively. Their duties are specified in a law establishing the internal regulations of each Chamber.
The quorum required for each Chamber of Parliament is at least three fifths of its members.
The sittings of each Chamber of Parliament are public.
However, each Chamber may decide, by absolute majority of the members present, to sit in camera at the request of either the President of the Republic, the President of Senate or the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies or a quarter of the members of either Chamber or the Prime Minister.
The Chambers of Parliament shall hold their sessions in the Capital City, each at its respective Chambers designated for the purpose except in cases of force majeure confirmed by the Supreme Court upon request by the President of the Chamber concerned. In the event that the Supreme Court itself is unable to hold session, the President of the Republic shall determine by decree-law the place where the Parliament shall hold session.
Decisions taken in sessions in respect of which there has either been no convocation or no agenda has been distributed or which take place during periods outside the approved time of sessions or outside the designated Chambers are null and void, save as is provided in the preceding paragraph.
- No one shall at the same time be a member of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
- The office of a Parliamentarian shall not be compatible with being a member of the Cabinet.
- An organic law determines offices which are incompatible with the office of a parliamentarian.
Members of Parliament shall enjoy parliamentary immunity in the following manner:
- No Member of Parliament may be prosecuted, pursued, arrested, detained or judged for any opinions expressed or votes made by him or her in the exercise of his or her duties.
- During the session period, no Member of Parliament suspected of a serious felony may be arrested or prosecuted without the authorisation of the Chamber to which he or she belongs;
- When Parliament is not in session, no Member of Parliament may be arrested without the authorisation of the Bureau of the Chamber to which he or she belongs, unless he or she is caught flagrante delicto committing a felony or the Bureau of the Chamber to which he or she belongs has previously authorised his or her prosecution or a court of law has passed a final verdict and sentence against him or her.
Any Member of Parliament convicted of a felony by a court of law of last instance is automatically stripped of his or her parliamentary seat by the Chamber to which he or she belongs, after confirmation by the Supreme Court.
Similarly, each Chamber of Parliament may, in its internal regulations, make provisions for serious misconduct as a consequence of which a member of that Chamber may be removed from office.
In such a case, the decision to remove the member from office shall be taken by a majority of three-fifths of the members of the Chamber concerned.
Ordinary sessions of both Chambers of Parliament shall take place on the same dates.
However, the sittings of each of the Chambers as well as the extraordinary sessions shall be held according to each Chamberâ€™s internal regulations.
The two Chambers of Parliament cannot meet in joint session save in cases of debate on issues in respect of which the Constitution mandates a joint session or formal ceremonies instituted by law or other official functions.
When Parliament meets in joint session, the meeting shall be chaired by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and in his or her absence, by the President of the Senate.
The Chambers of Parliament shall hold three ordinary sessions of two months each.
- the first session shall commence on February 5th ;
- the second session shall commence on June 5th ;
- the third session shall commence on October 5th.
Where the commencement date of a session falls on a non working day, the opening of the session shall be postponed to the following day; or, if the following day is a holiday, to the next working day.
Each Chamber of Parliament meets in an extraordinary session upon convocation by its President or Speaker, as the case may be, after consultation with other members of the Bureau or upon the request of the President of the Republic on the Cabinet's proposal or that of a quarter of members of the Chamber.
An extraordinary joint session of Parliament may be convened by common agreement between the Presidents of both Chambers, or at the request of the President of the Republic or that of one quarter of members of each Chamber.
The extraordinary session handles only the issues for which it has been convened and which have previously been brought to the notice of members of the Chamber or the Parliament before commencement of the session.
The session shall close upon conclusion of consideration of matters on the agenda for which the session was convened.
An extraordinary session shall not exceed fifteen days.
Each Chamber of Parliament shall adopt an organic law establishing its internal regulations.
Such organic law shall determine inter alia :
- the powers of the Bureau of each Chamber;
- the number, duties, powers and procedure of appointment of standing committees, without prejudice to the right of each Chamber to establish ad hoc committees;
- the organisation of departments of each Chamber managed by the Speaker or the President assisted by two Vice-Speakers and two Vice-Presidents as the case may be and the Clerk;
- the code governing the conduct of members of each Chamber;
- the different modes of voting, with the exception of those expressly provided for by the Constitution.
Each Chamber of Parliament shall have its own budget and shall enjoy financial and administrative autonomy. Article 75
An organic law shall determine rules not provided for in this Constitution relating in particular to the requirements for the conduct of elections of the members of each Chamber of Parliament and the manner of replacing a member of Parliament who leaves office before the end of his or her term. It shall also determine the factors which render a candidate ineligible for election, activities which are incompatible with the office of Deputy or Senator and the remuneration and allowances of the members.
Sub-section 2- The Chamber of DeputiesArticle 76
The Chamber of deputies shall be composed of 80 members as follows :
- fifty three (53) are elected in accordance with the provisions of article 77 of this Constitution;
- twenty four (24) women; that is : two from each Province and the City of Kigali. These shall be elected by a joint assembly composed of members of the respective District, Municipality, Town or Kigali City Councils and members of the Executive Committees of womenâ€™s organizations at the Province, Kigali City, District, Municipalities, Towns and Sector levels;
- two (2) members elected by the National Youth Council;
- one (1) member elected by the Federation of the Associations of the Disabled.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 76 of this Constitution, the members of the Chamber of Deputies shall be elected for a five-year (5) term by direct universal suffrage through a secret ballot using a system of proportional representation.
The seats which remain after allocation of seats by dividing votes received by the electoral quotient shall be distributed to political organizations according to the system of the highest surplus.
The list shall be compiled in full respect of the principle of national unity as stipulated in Articles 9 and 54 of this Constitution and the principle of gender equality in matters relating to elective offices as stipulated in article 54 of the Constitution.
Candidates may be presented by a political organization or may stand independently.
A political organization or list of independent candidates which fails to attain at least five per cent (5 %) of the votes cast at the national level during legislative elections can not be represented in the Chamber of Deputies or benefit from grants given to political organizations by the State.
Any deputy who, during his or her mandate, either resigns from his or her political organization or resigns from the Chamber of Deputies or is expelled from the political organization to which he or she belongs in accordance with provisions of the organic law governing political organizations or joins another political organization, shall automatically lose his or her seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
Disputes relating to decisions taken in accordance with the proceeding paragraph are adjudicated by the High Court of the Republic in the first instance and by the Supreme Court in the second and the last instance.
In the event of an appeal, the execution of the decision of the court of first instance is stayed until the Supreme Court rules on the appeal.
In the event of a Deputy losing or being removed from office when his or her term still has more than one year to go, the seat vacated by the Deputy shall devolve upon the person who was next on the list on which he or she was elected.
Candidates who are elected by means other than through lists of political organizations who lose or are removed from office as parliamentarians are replaced through fresh elections.
Every year, the Chamber of Deputies shall adopt the finance law. It shall receive the finance bill before commencement of the Budget session.
The Chamber of Deputies shall examine the Budget for the next financial year on the basis of the budget implementation report for the current year presented to it by the Cabinet.
Every financial year and before June 30th of the following year, the Cabinet shall submit to the Chamber of deputies the finance bill for the concerned financial year with a report on the implementation of the budget certified by the Auditor General of State Finances.
The Cabinet shall submit a report on the implementation of the budget to the Auditor General of State Finances not later than March 31st of the following financial year.
The finance law determines the State revenue and expenditure of the State in accordance with conditions provided for by an organic law.
Before the final adoption of the Budget, the President of the Chamber of Deputies seeks the opinion of the Senate on the finance bill.
In the event that the Finance bill is not voted and promulgated before commencement of a financial year, the Prime Minister authorises by an order a monthly expenditure on a provisional basis of an amount equal to one-twelfth of the budget of the preceding year.
- No taxation can be imposed, modified or removed except by law.
- No exemption from or reduction of tax may be granted unless authorised by law.
- The Chamber of Deputies may upon request by the Cabinet and after adoption of a law relating to certain rates of taxes and duties by an organic law, authorise its immediate application.
Sub-section 3- The SenateArticle 82
The Senate shall be composed of twenty six (26) members serving for a term of eight years (8) and at least thirty per cent (30 %) of whom are women. In addition, former Heads of State become members of the Senate upon their request as provided for in paragraph 4 of this article.
Those twenty six (26) members are elected or appointed as follows :
- twelve (12) members representing each Province and the City of Kigali elected through secret ballot by members of the Executive Committees of Sectors and District, Municipality, Town or City Councils of each Province and the City of Kigali;
- eight (8) members appointed by the President of the Republic who shall ensure the representation of historically marginalized communities;
- four (4) members designated by the Forum of Political organizationsâ€™;
- one (1)university lecturer of at least the rank of Associate Professor or a researcher elected by the academic and research staff of public universities and institutions of higher learning;
- one (1) university lecturer of at least the rank of Associate Professor or researcher elected by the academic and research staff of private universities and institutions of higher learning.
- The organs responsible for the nomination of Senators shall take into account national unity and equal representation of both sexes.
Former Heads of State who honourably completed their terms or voluntarily resigned from office become members of the Senate by submitting a request to the Supreme Court.
Dispute relating to the application of Article 82 and 83 of this Constitution which may arise, shall be adjudicated by the Supreme Court.
Members of the Senate shall be citizens of impeccable character possessing the qualities of "inararibonye" who are elected or appointed objectively on the basis of individual merit without regard to political affiliation. They shall be highly skilled in the fields of science, law, economics, politics, sociology, culture or be persons who have held senior positions in the public or private sectors.
A candidate for the Senate must fulfil the following requirements:
- satisfaction of the criteria specified in Article 82 of this Constitution;
- being an inararibonye;
- having irreproachable morals and probity;
- not having been deprived of civil and political rights;
- being at least forty years old;
- not having been sentenced by a court of last instance to a term of imprisonment of six months or more in respect of which there has been no amnesty or rehabilitation.
With the exception of former Heads of State who become members of the Senate in accordance with Article 82 of this Constitution, members of the Senate serve a term of eight years which is not renewable.
Without prejudice to Article 197 of this Constitution, nominations of candidates for the Senate to be elected by the District, Municipality, Town and City Councils and the Executive Committees of Sectors in Provinces and the City of Kigali are filed with the Supreme Court at least thirty days before the elections.
The Supreme Court verifies if the candidates fulfil the required conditions, rules on and publishes the list of candidates within a period not exceeding eight days from the date on which it received the nominations. Elections are conducted in accordance with the procedure determined by the electoral law.
With respect to Senators who are appointed, the organs responsible for the nomination of designated Senator submit the names of the candidates to the Supreme Court, which verifies whether they fulfil the required conditions and rules on and publishes the list of appointed Senators within eight (8) days.
Senators appointed by the President of the Republic are nominated last to enable the President to take into account the principle of national unity among Rwandans.
In the event that some of the candidates are not approved by the Supreme Court, the organs responsible for the nomination may, within a period not exceeding seven days from the date of publication of the list complete the number provided for.
With regard to Senators elected by the Executive Committees of Sectors, District, Municipality, Town and City Councils, a candidate to be elected must receive an absolute majority of the votes cast during the first round or failing, that a simple majority in the second round which must be organized immediately after the first round.
In the event of an elected Senatorâ€™s resignation, death, impeachment by a court of law or permanent absence from the Senate on account of any reason when his or her term has a year or more to run, fresh elections are held. In the case of an appointed Senator, the organ which appointed him or her shall determine his or her replacement.
The Senate has the specific function to supervise the application of the principles referred to in Articles 9 and 54 of this Constitution.
In legislative matters, the Senate shall be competent to vote on :
- laws relating to the amendment of the Constitution;
- organic laws;
- laws relating to the establishment, modification, functioning and dissolution of public enterprises and parastatal organizations and territorial organisations;
- laws relating to fundamental freedoms, rights and duties of the person;
- criminal law and laws relating to the organization, jurisdiction of courts and procedure in criminal cases;
- laws relating to defence and security;
- laws relating to elections and referenda;
- laws relating to international agreements and treaties.
The Senate shall also have the authority to :
- elect the President, the Vice-President and Judges of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General of the Republic and his or her deputy;
- approve the appointment of the Chairpersons and members of National Commissions, the Ombudsman and his or her deputies, the Auditor General of State Finances and his or her Deputy, Ambassadors and Representatives to international organisations, Provincial Prefets and heads of public enterprises and parastatal organisations which have legal personality;
- approve, where necessary, the appointment of such other public officials as shall be required and determined by an organic law.
The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies shall, without undue delay, transmit to the President of the Senate bills adopted by the Chamber of Deputies relating to matters provided for in Article 88 of this Constitution.
Similarly, the Government shall submit to the Senate draft orders relating to the appointment of the public officers referred to in Article 88 of this Constitution for approval prior to signature.
SECTION 2- Initiation and adoption of lawsArticle 90
The right to initiate legislation shall be concurrently vested in each Deputy and the Executive acting through the Cabinet.Article 91
Bills and statutory amendments which have the potential to reduce Government revenue or increase State expenditure must indicate proposals for raising the required revenue or making savings equivalent to the anticipated expenditure.Article 92
Bills determined by the plenary session to have a sound basis shall first be transmitted to the relevant committee of the Chamber of Deputies for examination prior to their consideration and adoption in the plenary session.Article 93
- The law is sovereign in all matters.
- Organic laws govern all matters reserved for them by this Constitution as well as matters the laws in respect of which require related special laws.
- An organic law may not contradict the Constitution. Neither may an ordinary law or decree-law contradict an organic law and a decree may not contradict an ordinary law.
- In voting upon a bill, there must be a separate vote on each article as well as a vote on the entire bill.
- A vote on the entire law is conducted by calling each parliamentarian by name and the parliamentarian votes by replying in a loud voice.
- Organic laws shall be passed by a majority vote of three fifths of the members present in each Chamber.
- The procedures for voting are determined by a law on the internal regulations of each Chamber.
A petition for consideration of a bill or any other matter on an urgent basis may be made by either a parliamentarian or the Cabinet to the relevant Chamber.
When such a petition is made by a member of Parliament, the relevant Chamber decides on the validity of the urgency.
When the petition is made by the Cabinet, the request is always granted.
Upon a decision confirming the urgency, the bill or matter is considered before any other matters on the agenda.Article 95
With the exception of the organic law on the internal regulations of the Senate, bills on matters in respect of which the Senate is competent to legislate are transmitted to the Senate after adoption by the Chamber of Deputies.
In the event that the Senate does not approve a bill transmitted to it or amendments proposed by the Senate are not acceptable to the Chamber of Deputies, both Chambers set up a commission composed of an equal number of Deputies and Senators which make proposals on matters still being debated.
Both Chambers are notified by the Commission of the compromise reached and the Chambers decide on it.
In the event that the compromise decision is not adopted by both Chambers, the bill is returned to the initiator.Article 96
The authentic interpretation of laws shall be done by both Chambers of Parliament acting jointly after the Supreme Court has given an opinion on the matter; each Chamber shall decide on the basis of the majority referred to in Article 93 of this Constitution.
The authentic interpretation of the laws may be requested by the Government, a member of one of the Chambers of Parliament or by the Bar Association.
Any interested person may request the authentic interpretation of laws through the members of Parliament or the Bar Association.
CHAPTER THREE- THE EXECUTIVEArticle 97
Executive power shall be vested in the President of the Republic and the Cabinet.
SECTION 1- The President of the RepublicArticle 98
The President of the Republic is the Head of State.
He or she is the guardian of the Constitution and guarantees national unity.
He or she guarantees the continuity of the State, the independence and territorial integrity of the country and respect of international treaties and agreements.
The President of the Republic has the right to address the Nation.Article 99
A candidate for the office of the Presidency of the Republic shall :
- be of Rwandan nationality by origin;
- not hold any other nationality;
- have at least one parent of the Rwandan nationality by origin;
- have irreproachable morals and probity;
- not have been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six months or more;
- not have been deprived of his or her civil and political rights;
- be at least thirty five (35) years old on the date of submission of his or her candidacy;
- be resident in Rwanda at the time of submission of his or her candidacy.
The election of the President of the Republic shall be by universal suffrage through a direct and secret ballot with a simple majority of the votes cast.
The Supreme Court proclaims the final results of the election.
The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven years renewable only once.
Under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of President of Republic for more than two terms.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 196 of this Constitution, elections for President are held not less than thirty days and not more than sixty days before the expiration of the term of the incumbent President.
An organic law shall determine the procedure concerning the presentation of the candidates for presidential elections, the conduct of elections, the counting of ballots, the modalities of resolving election disputes and declaration of results and the time within which the results shall be declared and other matters which are necessary to ensure that elections are conducted well and held in transparency.
Without prejudice to provisions of Article 196 of this Constitution, before assuming the duties of office, the President of the Republic shall take the oath of office before the President of the Supreme Court in the presence of both Chambers of Parliament in these words:
I,â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. solemnly swear to the Nation that I shall:
- diligently fulfil the responsibilities entrusted to me;
- remain loyal to the Republic of Rwanda ;
- observe and defend the Constitution and the other laws;
- preserve peace, territorial integrity and consolidate national unity;
- conscientiously fulfil my duties without any discrimination;
- never use the powers conferred upon me for personal ends;
- guarantee the respect of the freedoms and fundamental rights of the human being and safeguard the interests of the Rwandan people.
Should I fail to honour this oath, may I face the rigours of law.
So help me God.
The incumbent President of the Republic remains in office until his or her successor assumes office.
However, the incumbent President may not, during this period, exercise the following powers :
- declaration of war;
- declaration of a state of emergency or a state of siege;
- calling a referendum.
In addition, the Constitution shall not be amended during this period. In the event that the duly elected President of the Republic dies or is on account of any reason permanently unable or otherwise chooses not to assume office, new elections are held.
The office of the President of the Republic is incompatible with the holding of any other elective public office, public function or any other civilian or military employment or professional activities.
In the event of the death, resignation or permanent incapacity of the President of the Republic, the President is replaced in an acting capacity by the President of the Senate; in the absence of the President of the Senate, by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and in the absence of both, the duties of the President are assumed in an acting capacity by the Prime Minister.
The acting President of the Republic referred to in this article shall not make appointments to public office, call a referendum, initiate an amendment to the Constitution, excercise the prerogative of mercy or make a declaration of war.
In the event that the office of the President of the Republic becomes vacant before the expiry of the Presidentâ€™s term, elections to replace him or her are organized within a period not exceeding ninety days.
In the case of the President of the Republic being out of the country, sick or temporarily unable to perform his or her duties, his or her duties are assumed by the Prime Minister.
The President of the Republic promulgates laws within fifteen days from the day on which the laws are delivered to the Cabinet.
However, the President of the Republic may before promulgation of laws request Parliament to reconsider them.
In such a case, should Parliament adopt the laws by, in the case of ordinary laws, a majority of two thirds and in the case of the organic laws, a majority of three-quarters, the President of the Republic must promulgate the laws within the period referred to in paragraph one of this article.
Upon the proposal of the Cabinet and after receiving an advisory opinion of the Supreme Court, the President of the Republic may call a referendum on issues of general national interest, on a bill of an ordinary law, on a bill of an organic law or decree relating to the signature of an international treaty or agreement which is not inconsistent with the Constitution but has repercussions on functioning of state institutions.
Should the referendum adopt the proposal, the President of the Republic promulgates it within a period of eight days as from the time of proclamation of the results of the referendum.
- The President of the Republic is the Commander-in-Chief of the Rwanda Defence Forces.
- He or she declares war in accordance with the provisions of Article 136 of this Constitution.
- He or she signs accords for armistice and peace agreements.
- He or she declares a state of siege and a state of emergency in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law.
The President of the Republic has authority to exercise the prerogative of mercy in accordance with the procedure determined by law and after consulting the Supreme Court on the matter.
He or she has authority to mint money in accordance with procedures determined by the law.
The President of the Republic shall sign Presidential orders approved by the Cabinet, and these orders are countersigned by the Prime Minister, Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Government responsible for their implementation.
He or she shall make appointments of senior public service and military offices as determined by the Constitution and other laws.
The President of the Republic shall sign Presidential orders approved by Cabinet regarding:
- the prerogative of mercy;
- the minting of money;
- award of National Orders;
- implementation of laws when it is his or her responsibility;
- the promotion and appointment of :
- officers of the rank of General of the Rwanda Defence Forces;
- senior officers of the Rwanda Defence Forces;
- commissioners of the National Police;
- senior officers of the National Police.
- appointment and termination of services of the following senior public servants :
- the President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court;
- the Prosecutor-General of the Republic and his or her Deputy;
- the Director of Cabinet in the Office of the President of the Republic;
- the Chancellor of National Orders;
- the Governor of the Central Bank;
- the Rectors of public universities and institutions of higher learning;
- the Prefets of Provinces;
- the head of the National Security Service and his or her deputy ;
- the Commissioners of the Commissions and heads of specialized institutions provided for by the Constitution;
- the Principal Private Secretary to the President of the Republic;
- Advisors in the Office of the President of the Republic;
- the Ambassadors and representatives to international organizations;
- such other senior public servants as the law may determine as necessary.
The President of the Republic represents the State of Rwanda in its relations with foreign countries and may appoint persons to represent him or her.
The President of the Republic accredits Ambassadors and Special Envoys to foreign states.
Ambassadors accredited to Rwanda and Special Envoys present their Credentials to the President of the Republic.Article 115
An organic law determines the benefits accorded to the President of the Republic and former Heads of State.
However, where a President of the Republic has been convicted of high treason or grave and deliberate violations of the Constitution, he or she is not entitled to benefits due to former Heads of State.
SECTION 2- The CabinetArticle 116
The Cabinet shall comprise the Prime Minister, Ministers, Ministers of State and other members who may be determined, if necessary, by the President of the Republic.
The Prime Minister shall be nominated, appointed and removed from office by the President of the Republic.
Other members of Cabinet shall be appointed and removed from office by the President of the Republic upon proposal of the Prime Minister.
The members of Cabinet are selected from political organizations on the basis of their seats in the Chamber of Deputies without excluding the possibility of appointing to Cabinet other competent people who do not belong to any political organizations.
However, a political organization holding the majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies may not exceed 50 per cent of all the members of the Cabinet.
The President of the Republic receives the resignation of the Cabinet tendered by the Prime Minister.Article 117
- The Cabinet implements national policy agreed upon by the President of the Republic and the Cabinet.
- The Cabinet is accountable to the President of the Republic and to the Parliament in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The Prime Minister shall :
- coordinate the functioning of the Cabinet in accordance with broad guidelines set by the President of the Republic and ensures the implementation of laws;
- formulate the Government programme in consultation with other members of the Cabinet;
- present the Government programme to the Parliament within thirty days of assuming office;
- assign duties to the Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Cabinet ;
- convene Cabinet meetings, draw up the agenda of the Cabinet in consultation with other members of the Cabinet and communicates it to the President of the Republic and other members of the Cabinet at least three days before the meeting, except in matters of urgency which are considered by extraordinary meetings of the Cabinet;
- preside over the Cabinet meetings. However, where the President of the Republic is in attendance, he or she shall preside;
- countersign laws enacted by the Parliament and promulgated by the President of the Republic;
- appoint civil and military officers with the exception of those appointed by the President of the Republic;
- sign orders in respect of the appointment and promotion of junior officers of Rwanda Defence Forces and the National Police ;
- sign orders of the Prime Minister relating to the appointment and termination of service of the following senior public servants :
- the Director of Cabinet in the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office;
- the Secretary General in the Prime Minister's office;
- the Vice-Governors of the Central Bank;
- the Vice-Rectors of public universities and institutions of higher learning;
- Executive Secretaries of commissions and provinces;
- Advisors and heads of services in the Office of the Prime Minister;
- Secretary Generals in Ministries;
- Directors and other senior officers of public enterprises;
- members of the Boards of Directors of public enterprises and parastatal organisations;
- Directors and Heads of Divisions in Ministries and Provinces;
- Prosecutors at the National and Provincial levels as well as those of the City of Kigali;
- such other senior public servants as may be specified by a law;
Other public servants are appointed in accordance with specific laws.
Orders of the Prime Minister are countersigned by the Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of the Cabinet responsible for their implementation.
Ministers, Ministers of State and other members of Cabinet implements laws relating to matters for which they are responsible by way of orders.
The Cabinet functions on the basis of collective responsibility.
An order of the President determines the Cabinetâ€™s functioning, membership and procedures for making decisions.
The Cabinet deliberates upon :
- bills and draft decree-laws;
- drafts of orders of the President, the Prime Minister and Ministers;
- any other matters in respect of which the Constitution and other laws vest responsibility in the Cabinet.
A Presidential order shall determine certain Ministerial orders which are adopted without consideration by the Cabinet.Article 122
The office of member of the Cabinet is incompatible with any other professional activity or membership of Parliament.
A law determines the remuneration and other benefits accorded to members of the Cabinet.Article 123
Before assuming office, the Prime Minister, ministers, ministers of state and other members of Cabinet shall take oath before the President of the Republic, Parliament and the Supreme Court.Article 124
The resignation or vacation of the office of the Prime Minister on account of any reason leads to resignation of other members of the Cabinet.
The President of the Republic receives the resignation of the Cabinet when it is submitted by the Prime Minister.
During such period, the Cabinet only deals with routine business until a new Cabinet is appointed.Article 125
Each minister, minister of state or other member of the Cabinet may individually tender in his or her resignation to the President of the Republic through the Prime Minister.
The resignation becomes effective if, within a period of five days, it is not withdrawn by the member of Cabinet concerned and the President of the Republic has consented to it.
SECTION 3- Public AdministrationArticle 126
Public servants are recruited, posted and promoted in conformity with the principle of equality of citizens, through an objective, impartial and transparent system on the basis of the competence, merit and integrity of applicants of both sexes.
The State guarantees the impartiality of the leadership of government departments, the Rwanda Defence Forces, the National Police and the National Security Service. They shall all, at all times, ensure impartiality and serve all citizens without discrimination.
CHAPTER FOUR- RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE LEGISLATURE AND EXECUTIVEArticle 127
The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister shall be informed of the agenda of the sessions of each Chamber of Parliament and of its Committees.
The Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet may attend the sessions of each Chamber of Parliament if they so wish. They take the floor whenever they request to do so. They may, if need be, be accompanied by technical advisers of their choice.
Such technical advisers may only take part in deliberations in Standing Committees.Article 128
The Chamber of Deputies shall employ the following methods to obtain information and exercise oversight of activities of the government.
- oral questions;
- written questions;
- hearings before Committees;
- Commissions of inquiry;
An organic law shall determine the procedures by which Parliament obtains information and exercises oversight of government action.
In the context of obtaining information and exercising oversight of government action, members of the Senate may address oral or written questions to the Prime Minister to which he or she shall either respond in person if the questions relate to the government as a whole or to many Ministries collectively or through the Ministers responsible for the matters in question.
The Senate may, in addition, set up commissions of inquiry for oversight of government action.
However, it shall not conduct interpellation or initiate a motion of no confidence.
The Chamber of Deputies may put the performance of Cabinet or of one or several members into question through a vote of no confidence.
A motion of no confidence shall only be accepted after interpellation and only on condition that the motion is signed by at least a fifth of the members of the Chamber of Deputies in the case of a vote of no confidence against one member of the Cabinet, or by at least a third of the members of the Chamber of Deputies if it concerns the entire Cabinet.
A motion of no confidence shall not be voted upon prior to the expiry of at least forty-eight hours after its introduction and it shall be adopted through a secret ballot by a majority of at least two-thirds of the members of the Chamber of Deputies.
The conclusion of ordinary or extraordinary sessions shall be postponed to ensure the application of the provisions of this article.
A member of the Cabinet against whom a vote of no confidence is passed shall tender his or her resignation to the President of the Republic through the Prime Minister.
When the vote of no confidence is passed against the Government, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Government to the President of the Republic.
Where a motion of no confidence is rejected, signatories to the motion shall not introduce another motion for a vote of no confidence during the same session.
The Prime Minister may, upon the proposal of the Cabinet request the Chamber of Deputies to pass a motion on a vote of confidence either in respect of the Government programme or adoption of a bill.
The debate on the request for a vote of confidence may not take place prior to the expiry of at least three full days from the time the request was submitted.
A vote on the motion of confidence may only be rejected through a secret ballot by a majority of two-thirds of the members to the Chamber of Deputies.
In the event that the Prime Minister loses a vote of confidence, he or she submits the resignation of the Governement to the President of the Republic, within twenty four hours.
- The President of the Republic, after consultation with the Prime Minister, the President and Speaker of the two Chambers of Parliament and the President of the Supreme Court, may dissolve the Chamber of Deputies.
- Elections of Deputies shall take place within ninety days after the dissolution.
- The President of the Republic shall not dissolve the Chamber of Deputies more than once in the same presidential term of office.
- The Senate can not be dissolved.
The Prime Minister is obliged to inform the Chambers of Parliament of government activities whenever it is possible.
The Prime Minister communicates decisions of the Cabinet and supporting documents to the Bureau of each Chamber of Parliament within a period of not more than eight days from the date of the meeting of the Cabinet.
Moreover, during the session period, one sitting each week shall be devoted to questions by members of Parliament addressed to members of Cabinet and responses thereto.
The Government is obliged to provide the Chambers of Parliament with all necessary explanations on questions put to the Government concerning its management and activities.
The President of the Republic may address the Chambers of Parliament together or separately, either in person or by a message read on his or her behalf by the Prime Minister. There is no debate on such communication.
Should Parliament not be in session, it or one of its Chambers is convened specially for the purpose.
The President of the Republic has the right to declare war and inform the Parliament within seven days. Parliament adopts a vote on the matter by a simple majority of the members of each Chamber.
A state of emergency and a state of siege shall be governed by the law and declared by the President of the Republic, following a decision of the Cabinet.
A declaration of state of siege or state of emergency must give clear reasons which justify it, must specify the part of national territory to which it applies and its consequences, must indicate the rights, freedoms and guarantees provided by law which are suspended and the duration of the state of siege or state of emergency which may not exceed a period of fifteen days.
The state of siege or the state of emergency cannot be extended beyond a period of fifteen days without the approval of Parliament, which approval requires a majority of two-thirds of the members of each Chamber.
During war time, when a state of siege or a state of emergency has been declared, the duration of the state of siege may by law be extended beyond the period provided for in the paragraph preceding this one.
The duration of a state of siege must not exceed the period strictly necessary to ensure the return of normal conditions characterised by democracy.
A declaration of a state of siege or of a state of emergency shall not under any circumstances violate the right to life and physical integrity of the person, the rights accorded to people by law in relation to their status, capacity and nationality; the principle of non-retroactivity of criminal law, the right to legal defence and freedom of conscience and religion.
A declaration of a state of siege or of a state of emergency shall not under any circumstance affect the powers of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, Parliament or the Supreme Court nor can it modify the principles relating to the responsibility of the State and of public officials provided for in this Constitution.
No elections of any kind may be held during or within a period of less than thirty days after the state of siege or state of emergency.
- A state of siege cannot be declared on the entire or a part of the national territory unless the country has suffered or is about to suffer aggression by foreign states, faces grave dangers or in the case of destabilisation of the institutions established by this Constitution.
- A state of emergency shall be declared on the entirety or part of the national territory when the country faces a public disaster or constitutional crisis whose gravity does not warrant the declaration of a state of siege.
During the period of a state of siege or a state of emergency, the Chamber of Deputies cannot be dissolved and the Chambers of Parliament shall be recalled immediately if they are in recess.
If at the time of a declaration of a state of siege or of a state of emergency the Chamber of Deputies has previously been dissolved or its term has expired , the powers of Parliament relating to a state of siege or a state of emergency shall be exercised by the Senate.
CHAPTER FIVE- THE JUDICIARY
SECTION 1- General ProvisionsArticle 140
Judicial Power is exercised by the Supreme Court and other courts established by the Constitution and other laws.
The Judiciary is independent and separate from the legislative and executive branches of government.
It enjoys financial and administrative autonomy.
Justice is rendered in the name of the people and nobody may be a judge in his or her own cause.
Judicial decisions are binding on all parties concerned, be they public authorities or individuals. They shall not be challenged except through ways and procedures determined by law.Article 141
Court proceedings are conducted in public unless a court determines that the proceedings should be in camera on the ground that a public hearing might have an adverse effect on general public order or would outrage public morals.
Every court decision shall indicate the grounds on which it is based, be written in its entirety and shall be delivered in open court.
Courts apply orders and regulations only where they are not inconsistent with the Constitution and other laws.
Without prejudice to the principle of equality of litigants before the law, an organic law relating to organisation and jurisdiction of courts shall determine institution of a single judge in ordinary courts in first instance with the exception of the Supreme Court. The same organic law shall provide for the procedure of application of the provisions of this paragraph.Article 142
Unless the law otherwise provides, judges confirmed in office shall hold tenure for life; they shall not be suspended, transferred, even if it is for the purposes of promotion, retired prematurely or otherwise removed from office.
In the exercise of their functions, judges follow the law and only the law.
The law on the status of judges and other judicial personnel shall determine the remuneration and other benefits due to them.
SECTION 2- CourtsArticle 143
Ordinary and specialized courts are hereby established.
Ordinary Courts are the Supreme Court, the High Court of the Republic, the Provincial Courts and the Court of the City of Kigali, the District Courts and the Municipality and Town courts.
Specialized courts, are the Gacaca courts and Military courts.
An organic law may establish other specialized courts.
With the exception of the Supreme Court, ordinary courts may have specialised and/or itinerant chambers established by an order of the President of the Supreme Court upon proposal of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary.
Courts may sit in any locality within the limits of their territorial jurisdiction if the efficient administration of justice so requires and this does not prejudice the normal business of the courts at their permanent seats. However, no special courts shall be created.
An organic law shall determine the organisation, jurisdiction and the functioning of Courts.
Sub-section one- Ordinary Courts
A. The Supreme CourtArticle 144
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. The decision of the Supreme Court are not be subject to appeal save in terms of petitions for the exercise of the prerogative of mercy or revision of a judicial decision. Its decisions are binding on all parties concerned whether such are organs of the State, public officials, civilians, military, judicial officers or private individuals.Article 145
The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is provided for in this Constitution and other laws and includes, inter alia :
- hearing appeals against decisions of the High Court of the Republic and the Military High Court rendered in their first or appellate degrees as provided for by the law;
- ensuring that Courts act in accordance with the law, coordinating and supervising their activities;
- ruling on the constitutionality of organic laws and laws establishing the internal regulations of each Chamber of Parliament before their promulgation;
- upon the request of the President of the Republic, the President and Speaker of the Chambers of Parliament or one-fifth of members of the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, the Supreme Court examines whether international treaties and agreements and laws are not inconsistent with the Constitution and issues an advisory opinion before organs concerned take a decision;
- hearing petitions on the constitutionality of laws and decree-laws;
- resolving upon request, disputes relating to powers arising between different state organs;
- hearing election petitions relating to referendum, presidential and legislative elections;
- trying in the first and last instance criminal cases against the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister;
- administering the oath of office taken by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister before assumption of their duties;
- trying the President of the Republic on charges of high treason or grave and deliberate violation of the Constitution. In such case, the decision to file charges against the President of the Republic with the Supreme Court shall be taken through a vote of both Chambers of Parliament meeting in joint session, by a two-thirds majority vote of members of each Chamber;
- declaring vacant of office of the President of the Republic in case of the Presidentâ€™s death, resignation or conviction and sentence for high treason or grave and deliberate violation of the Constitution ;
- on matters relating to the organisation of the judiciary, the Supreme Court may propose to the Government a bill of any nature amending existing law in public interest;
- to provide authentic interpretation of custom which is unwritten and in respect of which the written law is silent.
The organic law shall determine the organization and functioning of the Supreme Court.
- The Supreme Court is headed by a President, assisted by a Vice-President and twelve other judges.
- They shall all be career judges.
- Where necessary, an organic law may increase or reduce the number of Judges of the Supreme Court.
The President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court are elected by the Senate for a single term of eight years by simple majority vote of members from two candidates in respect of each post proposed by the President of the Republic after consultation with the Cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Judiciary.
They are appointed by a Presidential order within eight days of the vote of the Senate.
They shall be holders of at least a Bachelor of Laws degree and have working experience of fifteen years in the legal profession and proven ability of management at high-levels of institutions. Holders of doctoral degrees in law shall have at least seven years of experience in the legal profession.
They may be removed from office on account of undignified behaviour, incompetence or serious professional misconduct upon the petition of three fifths of either the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate and a two-thirds majority vote of each Chamber.Article 148
The President of the Republic, after consultation with the Cabinet and the Superior Council of the Judiciary, shall submit to the Senate a list of candidates for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court. The list shall have two candidates per post in respect of which there is an election. The candidates shall be elected by an absolute majority vote of the members of the Senate.
B. The High Court of the RepublicArticle 149
There is hereby establish the High Court of the Republic whose territorial jurisdiction is the whole country.
It has jurisdiction to try in the first instance certain serious offences committed in Rwanda as well as some offences committed outside Rwanda as specified by the law.
It hears in the first instance cases relating to the violation of Articles 52, 53 and 54 of the Constitution committed by political organizations.
It also has jurisdiction to hear in the first instance certain cases involving administrative law, political organizations, elections and such other cases as an organic law may determine.
It also hears, as a court of last instance, appeals against decisions of lower courts as determined by law.
It shall have specialized chambers which sit in different parts of the country as determined by law.
An organic law shall determine the organization, jurisdiction and functioning of the High Court of the Republic.
C. The Provincial Court and the Court of the City of Kigali Article 150
There is hereby established a Provincial Court in each Province of the country and a Court of the City of Kigali.
An organic law shall determine the organization, jurisdiction and functioning of Provincial Courts and the Court of the City of Kigali.
D. The District, Municipality and Town CourtArticle 151
There is hereby established a District, Town and Municipality Court respectively in each District, Town and Municipality in the country.
An organic law shall determine the organization, jurisdiction and functioning of these courts.
Sub-section 2- Specialized Courts
A. Gacaca Courts and the National Service for the follow-up of their activitiesArticle 152
There is hereby established Gacaca Courts responsible for the trial and judgment of cases against persons accused of the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity which were committed between October 1st 1990 and December 31st 1994 with the exception of cases jurisdiction in respect of which is vested in other courts.
An organic law shall determine the organization, jurisdiction and functioning of Gacaca Courts.
A law shall establish a National Service charged with the follow-up, supervision and coordination of activities of the Gacaca Courts. This body shall enjoy administrative and financial autonomy. This law shall also determine its duties, organization and functioning.
B. Military Courts Article 153
- Military courts comprise of the Military Tribunal and the Military High Court.
- An organic law determines the organization, jurisdiction and functioning of Military courts.
1. The Military Tribunal Article 154
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 155 paragraph one, the Military Court tries in the first instance all offences committed by military personnel irrespective of their rank.
2. The Military High CourtArticle 155
The Military High Court shall try in the first instance, all offences which constitute a threat to national security and murder committed by soldiers irrespective of rank.
The Military High Court is an appellate court in respect of decisions rendered by the Military Tribunal.
The Supreme Court shall hear appeals against decisions of the Military High Court in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Sub-section 3- Oath of office of judgesArticle 156
The President, Vice President and Judges of the Supreme Court shall take the oath of office before the President of the Republic in the presence of the members of Parliament.
Other Judges shall take oath before authorities indicated by the law that governs them.
SECTION 3- The Superior Council of the JudiciaryArticle 157
There is hereby established a Supreme Council of the Judiciary which has the following functions:
- to examine and, either on its own initiative, or upon request by another organ, to give advice on matters relating to the functioning of the justice system;
- to take decisions relating to the appointment, promotion or removal from office of judges and management of the career in general and discipline of judges with the exception of judges of the military courts and President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court;
- to advise on all proposals relating to the establishment of a new court or bill governing the status of judges and other judicial personnel for whom it is responsible.
The President of the Supreme Court signs the orders of appointment, promotion and removal from office of judges and personnel of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Council of the Judiciary is composed of :
- the President of the Supreme Court, who is the chairperson;
- the Vice-President of the Supreme Court;
- a judge of the Supreme Court elected by his or her peers;
- the President of the High Court of the Republic;
- one Judge from each Provincial Court and the City of Kigali court elected by his or her peers;
- one Judge of a District, Municipality or Town Court elected by his or her peers from the territorial jurisdiction of each Provincial Court and the Kigali City Court;
- two deans of the Faculties of Law of recognized universities elected by their peers;
- the President of the National Commission of Human Rights;
- the Ombudsman.
An organic law shall determine the organisation, powers and functioning of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary.
SECTION 4- The MediatorsArticle 159
There is hereby established in each Sector a â€œMediation Committee" responsible for mediating between parties to certain disputes involving matters determined by law prior to the filing of a case with the court of first instance.
The Mediation Committee shall comprise of twelve residents of the Sector who are persons of integrity and are acknowledged for their mediating skills.
They shall be elected by the Executive Committee and Councils of Sectors from among persons who are not members of decentralized local government or judicial organs for a term of two years which may be extended. Parties to a dispute shall choose three of the mediators to whom they shall submit their case for mediation.
The Mediators shall record minutes of the terms of the proposed settlement of the case referred to them. Such minutes bear the signature of both the mediators and seal of the institution of mediators. The parties to the dispute are provided with a copy of the minutes.
Any party to the dispute who is dissatisfied with the settlement may refer the matter to the Courts of law. Such matter shall not be admissible by the court of first instance without prior production of the minutes of the settlement proposal of the mediators.
An organic law shall determine the organization, powers and functioning of Mediation Committee.