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Table of Contents

  1. Preamble
  2. TITLE I. THE STATE AND NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY
  3. CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  4. CHAPTER II. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
  5. TITLE II. FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN
  6. CHAPTER I. FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS
  7. CHAPTER II. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN
  8. TITLE III. POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS
  9. TITLE IV. BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT
  10. CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  11. CHAPTER II. THE LEGISLATURE
  12. SECTION 1. THE PARLIAMENT
  13. SUB-SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  14. SUB-SECTION 2. THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES
  15. SUB-SECTION 3. THE SENATE
  16. SECTION 2. INITIATION AND ADOPTION OF LAWS
  17. CHAPTER III. THE EXECUTIVE
  18. SECTION 1. THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
  19. SECTION 2. THE CABINET
  20. SECTION 3. PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
  21. CHAPTER IV. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE LEGISLATURE AND EXECUTIVE
  22. CHAPTER V. THE JUDICIARY
  23. SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  24. SECTION 2. COURTS
  25. SUB-SECTION 1. ORDINARY COURTS
  26. A. SUPREME COURT
  27. B. HIGH COURT
  28. C. INTERMEDIATE COURT
  29. D. PRIMARY COURT
  30. SUB-SECTION 2. SPECIALIZED COURTS
  31. A. GACACA COURTS AND THE NATIONAL SERVICE FOR THE FOLLOW-UP OF THEIR ACTIVITIES
  32. B. MILITARY COURTS
  33. C. COMMERCIAL COURTS
  34. SUB-SECTION 3. OATH OF OFFICE OF JUDGES
  35. SECTION 3. THE HIGH COUNCIL OF THE JUDICIARY
  36. SECTION 4. THE MEDIATORS
  37. TITLE V. PUBLIC PROSECUTION
  38. CHAPTER I. THE NATIONAL PUBLIC PROSECUTION AUTHORITY
  39. CHAPTER II. THE MILITARY PROSECUTION DEPARTMENT
  40. CHAPTER III. THE HIGH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL PUBLIC PROSECUTION AUTHORITY
  41. TITLE VI. THE DECENTRALISED AUTHORITIES
  42. CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  43. CHAPTER II. THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE COUNCIL
  44. TITLE VII. NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
  45. CHAPTER I. THE RWANDA NATIONAL POLICE
  46. CHAPTER II. THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY SERVICE
  47. CHAPTER III. RWANDA DEFENCE FORCES
  48. TITLE VIII. NATIONAL COMMISSIONS, SPECIAL ORGANS, NATIONAL COUNCILS AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
  49. CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  50. CHAPTER II. NATIONAL COMMISSIONS
  51. CHAPTER III. SPECIAL ORGANS
  52. CHAPTER IV. NATIONAL COUNCILS
  53. TITLE IX
  54. TITLE X. INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS
  55. TITLE XI. AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
  56. TITLE XII. TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
  57. CHAPTER I. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
  58. CHAPTER II. FINAL PROVISIONS

Constitution of Rwanda (2003, rev. 2010)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

2


3Preamble

4We, the People of Rwanda,

51.In the wake of the genocide against the Tutsi that was organised and supervised by unworthy leaders and other perpetrators and that decimated more than a million sons and daughters of Rwanda;

62.Resolved to fight the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations and to eradicate ethnic, regional and any other form of divisions;

73.Determined to fight dictatorship by putting in place democratic institutions and leaders freely elected by ourselves;

84.Emphasizing on the necessity to strengthen and promote national unity and reconciliation which were seriously shaken by the genocide against the Tutsi and its consequences;

95.Conscious that peace and unity of Rwandans constitute the essential basis for national economic development and social progress;

106.Resolved to build a State governed by the rule of law, based on respect for fundamental human rights, pluralistic democracy, equitable power sharing, tolerance and resolution of issues through dialogue;

117.Considering that we enjoy the privilege of having one country, a common language, a common culture and a long shared history which ought to lead to a common vision of our destiny;

128.Considering that it is necessary to draw from our centuries-old history the positive values which characterized our ancestors that must be the basis for the existence and flourishing of our Nation ;

139.Reaffirming our adherence to the principles of human rights enshrined in the United Nations Charter of 26 June 1945, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination of 21 December 1965, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 19 December 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 19 December 1966, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1 May 1980, the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights of 27 June 1981 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989;

1410.Committed to ensuring equal rights between Rwandans and between women and men without prejudice to the principles of gender equality and complementarity in national development;

1511.Determined to develop human resources, to fight ignorance, to promote technological advancement and the social welfare of the people of Rwanda;

1612.Considering that after the Transition period, Rwanda shall be governed by a Constitution comprising ideas expressed by Rwandans themselves;

17Now hereby adopt, by referendum, this Constitution as the supreme Law of the Republic of Rwanda:

18TITLE I. THE STATE AND NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY

19CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

20ARTICLE 1

21The Rwandan State is an independent, sovereign, democratic, social and secular Republic;

22The principle governing the Republic is "government of the people, by the people and for the people".

23ARTICLE 2

24All the power derives from the people.

25No group of Rwandan people or an individual can vest in themselves the exercise of power.

26National sovereignty belongs to rwandans who shall exercise it directly by way of referendum or through their representatives.

27ARTICLE 3

28The Territory of Rwanda is divided into administrative entities determined by an Organic Law which determines their number, their boundaries and their organisation

29A Law shall determine the organisation and the functioning of those entities.

30ARTICLE 4

31The Capital of the Republic of Rwanda is the City of Kigali.

32A Law shall determine the organization and functioning of the City of Kigali.

33The Capital can, by Law, be transferred elsewhere within Rwanda.

34ARTICLE 5

35The national language is Kinyarwanda.

36The official languages are Kinyarwanda, French and English.

37ARTICLE 6

38The national symbols of Rwanda are the flag, the motto, the seal and the national anthem.

39The national flag is made up of three colours: green, yellow and blue.

40The flag comprises the following colours from the bottom to the top: a green strip, followed by a yellow strip both of which cover half the flag. The upper half is blue and bears on its right hand side the image of the sun with its rays of golden yellow. The sun and its rays are separated by a blue ring.

41A Law shall determine the characteristics, significance, usage and ceremonials of the national flag.

42The motto of the Republic is: UNITY, WORK, PATRIOTISM.

43The Seal of the Republic is made up of a circular green rope with a green knot at the base, bearing on its upper part, the imprints "REPUBULIKA Y'U RWANDA". At the bottom of the knot is the motto of the Republic: "UBUMWE, UMURIMO, GUKUNDA IGIHUGU". All these inscriptions are in black against a yellow background.

44The Seal of the Republic also bears the following ideograms: the sun with its rays, a stem of sorghum and a branch of a coffee tree, a basket, a blue wheel with teeth and two shields one on the right and one on the left.

45The characteristics, significance, usage and protection of the Seal shall be determined by a Law.

46The national anthem is "RWANDA NZIZA".

47The characteristics and ceremonies of the National Anthem shall be determined by a Law.

48ARTICLE 7

49Every person has a right to nationality.

50Dual nationality is permitted.

51No person may be deprived of Rwandan nationality of origin.

52No person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality or of the right to change nationality.

53Rwandans or their descendants who were deprived of their nationality between 1st November 1959 and 31 December 1994 by reason of acquisition of foreign nationalities automatically reacquire Rwandan nationality if they return to settle in Rwanda.

54All persons originating from Rwanda and their descendants shall, upon their request, be entitled to Rwandan nationality.

55The conditions of acquisition, retention, enjoyment and deprivation of Rwandan nationality shall be determined by an Organic Law.

56ARTICLE 8

57Suffrage is universal and equal for all citizens.

58Suffrage is direct or indirect and secret, unless the Constitution or another Law provides otherwise.

59All Rwandan citizens of both sexes who fulfil the requirements provided for by the law have the right to vote and to be elected.

60A Law shall determine the conditions and modalities for the conduct of elections.

61CHAPTER II. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

62ARTICLE 9

63The State of Rwanda commits itself to conform to the following fundamental principles and to promote and enforce the respect thereof:

641.fighting the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations;

652.eradication of ethnic, regional and other divisions and promotion of national unity;

663.equitable sharing of power;

674.building a state governed by the rule of law, a pluralistic democratic government, equality of all Rwandans and between women and men reflected by ensuring that women are granted at least thirty per cent of posts in decision making organs;

685.building a State committed to promoting social welfare and establishing appropriate mechanisms for ensuring social justice;

696.the constant quest for solutions through dialogue and consensus.

70TITLE II. FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN

71CHAPTER I. FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS

72ARTICLE 10

73The human person is sacred and inviolable.

74The State and all public administration organs have the absolute obligation to respect protect and defend him or her.

75ARTICLE 11

76All Rwandans are born and remain free and equal in rights and duties.

77Discrimination of whatever kind based on, inter alia, ethnic origin, tribe, clan, colour, sex, region, social origin, religion or faith, opinion, economic status, culture, language, social status, physical or mental disability or any other form of discrimination is prohibited and punishable by Law.

78ARTICLE 12

79Every person has the right to life. No person shall be arbitrarily deprived of life.

80ARTICLE 13

81The crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are not subject to prescriptive period.

82Revisionism, negationism and trivialisation of genocide are punishable by the Law.

83ARTICLE 14. WELFARE OF VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST THE TUTSI AND OTHER NEEDY PERSONS

84The State shall, within the limits of its capacity, take special measures for the welfare of the survivors who were rendered destitute by genocide against the Tutsi committed in Rwanda from October 1st , 1990 to December 31st , 1994, the disabled, the indigent and the elderly as well as other vulnerable groups.

85ARTICLE 15

86Every person has the right to physical and mental integrity.

87No one shall be subjected to torture, physical abuse or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

88No one shall be subjected to experimentation without his/her informed consent. The modalities of such consent and experiments are determined by Law.

89ARTICLE 16

90All human beings are equal before the law. They shall enjoy, without any discrimination, equal protection of the Law.

91ARTICLE 17

92Criminal liability is personal. Civil liability is determined by a Law.

93No one shall be imprisoned on the ground of inability to fulfil obligations arising from civil or commercial Laws.

94ARTICLE 18

95The person's liberty is guaranteed by the State.

96No one shall be subjected to prosecution, arrest, detention or punishment unless provided for by laws into force at the time the offence was committed.

97The right to be informed of the nature and cause of charges and the right to defence are absolute at all levels and degrees of proceedings before administrative, judicial and all other decision making organs.

98ARTICLE 19

99Every person accused of a crime shall be presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been conclusively proved in accordance with the law in a public and fair trial in which all the necessary guarantees for defence have been made available.

100No one shall be denied the right to appear before a competent judge to hear his/her case.

101ARTICLE 20. NON RETROACTIVITY OF CRIMINAL LAW

102No one shall be subjected to prosecution, arrest, detention or punishment on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time it was committed.

103No one shall be punished with a heavier penalty than the one that was prescribed under the Law at the time when the offence was committed.

104Offences and related penalties shall be determined by an Organic Law.

105ARTICLE 21

106No person shall be subjected to security measures except as provided for by Law, for reasons of public order and State security.

107ARTICLE 22

108The private life, family, home or correspondence of a person shall not be subjected to arbitrary interference; his/her honour and good reputation shall be respected.

109A person's home is inviolable. No search of or entry into a home may be carried out without the consent of the owner, except in circumstances and in accordance with procedures determined by Law.

110Confidentiality of correspondence and communication shall not be subject to waiver except in circumstances and in accordance with procedures determined by Law.

111ARTICLE 23

112Every Rwandan has the right to move and to circulate freely and to settle anywhere in Rwanda.

113Every Rwandan has the right to leave and to return to the country.

114These rights shall be restricted only by the law for reasons of public order or State security, in order to deal with a public menace or to protect persons in danger.

115ARTICLE 24

116Every Rwandan has the right to his/her country.

117No Rwandan shall be banished from the country.

118ARTICLE 25

119The right to asylum is recognized under conditions determined by the Law.

120The extradition of foreigners shall be permitted only so far as it is consistent with the Law or international conventions to which Rwanda is a party.

121However, no Rwandan shall be extradited.

122ARTICLE 26. MARRIAGE

123Civil monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is the only recognized.

124However, the monogamous marriage between a man and a woman contracted outside Rwanda in accordance with the Law of the country of celebration of the marriage shall be recognized.

125No person may be married without his/her free consent.

126Parties to a marriage have equal rights and obligations upon and during the subsistence of their marriage and at the time of divorce.

127A Law shall determine the conditions, forms and consequences of marriage.

128ARTICLE 27

129The family, which is the natural foundation of Rwandan society, is protected by the State.

130Both parents shall have the right and responsibility to bring up their children.

131The State shall put in place appropriate legislation and institutions for the protection of the family, in particular mother and child in order to ensure that the family flourishes.

132ARTICLE 28

133Every child is entitled to special measures of protection by his/her family, society and the State that are necessary, depending on the status of the child, under national and international law.

134ARTICLE 29

135Every person has a right to private property, whether personal or owned in association with others.

136Private property, whether individually or collectively owned, is inviolable.

137The right to property may not be interfered with except in public interest, in circumstances and procedures determined by Law and subject to fair and prior compensation.

138ARTICLE 30

139Private ownership of land and other rights related to land are granted by the State.

140A Law specify the modalities of acquisition, transfer and use of land.

141ARTICLE 31

142The property of the State comprises of public and private property of the central Government as well as the public and private property of decentralized local government organs.

143The public property of the State is inalienable unless there has been prior transfer thereof to the private property of the State.

144ARTICLE 32

145Every person shall respect public property.

146Any act intended to cause sabotage, vandalism, corruption, embezzlement, squandering or any tampering with public property shall be punishable by Law.

147ARTICLE 33

148Freedom of thought, opinion, conscience, religion, worship and public manifestation thereof is guaranteed by the State in accordance with conditions determined by Law.

149Propagation of ethnic, regional, racial or discrimination or any other form of division shall be punishable by Law.

150ARTICLE 34. FREEDOM OF PRESS AND INFORMATION

151Freedom of press and freedom of information are recognized and guaranteed by the State.

152Freedom of speech and freedom of information shall not prejudice public order and good morals, the right of every citizen to honour, good reputation and the privacy of personal and family life. It is also guaranteed so long as it does not prejudice the protection of the youth and minors.

153The conditions for exercising such freedoms shall be determined by Law.

154There is hereby established an independent institution known as the "Media High Council". A Law shall determine its responsibilities, organization and functioning.

155ARTICLE 35

156Freedom of association is guaranteed and shall not require prior authorization.

157Such freedom shall be exercised under conditions determined by Law.

158ARTICLE 36

159Freedom of peaceful assembly without arms is guaranteed if it is not inconsistent with the law.

160Prior authorization shall only be necessary if the Law so requires and solely in the case of assembly in the open air, in a public place or on a public road, to the extent that such is necessary in the interests of public safety, public order or public health.

161ARTICLE 37

162Every person has the right to free choice of employment.

163Persons with the same competence and ability shall have a right to equal pay for equal work without any discrimination.

164ARTICLE 38

165The right to form trade unions for the defence and the promotion of legitimate professional interests is recognized.

166Every worker may defend his/her rights through trade union action under conditions determined by Law.

167Every employer has the right to join an employers' organization.

168Trade unions and employers' associations have the right to enter into general or specific agreements regulating their working relations. The modalities for making these agreements shall be determined by a Law.

169ARTICLE 39

170The right of workers' to strike is permitted and shall be exercised within the limits provided for by the Law, but the exercising of this right should not interfere with the freedom to work which is guaranteed for every individual.

171ARTICLE 40

172Every person has the right to education.

173Freedom of learning and teaching shall be guaranteed in accordance with conditions determined by law.

174Primary education is compulsory. It is free in public schools.

175The conditions for free primary education in schools subsidised by the Government shall be determined by an Organic Law.

176The State shall have the duty to take special measures to facilitate the education of disabled people.

177An Organic Law shall determine the organization of Education.

178ARTICLE 41

179All citizens have the right and duties relating to health. The State shall have the duty of mobilizing the population for activities aimed at promoting good health and to assist in the implementation of these activities.

180ARTICLE 42

181Every foreigner legally residing in the Republic of Rwanda shall enjoy all rights save those reserved for nationals as determined under this Constitution and other laws.

182ARTICLE 43

183In the exercise of rights and enjoyment of freedoms, every person shall only be subjected to the limitations set by the Law in order to ensure the recognition and respect of others' rights and freedoms, good morals, public order and social welfare which characterize a democratic society.

184ARTICLE 44

185The judiciary as the guardian of rights and freedoms of the public shall ensure respect thereof in accordance with procedures determined by Law.

186CHAPTER II. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN

187ARTICLE 45

188All citizens have the right to participate in the government of the country, whether directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the Law.

189All citizens have the right of equal access to public service in accordance with their competence and abilities.

190ARTICLE 46

191Every citizen has the duty to relate to other persons without discrimination and to maintain relations conducive to safeguarding, promoting and reinforcing mutual respect, solidarity and tolerance.

192ARTICLE 47

193All citizens have the duty to participate, through work, in the development of the country; to safeguard peace, democracy, social justice and equality and to participate in the defence of the motherland.

194A Law shall organize national service, whether civil or military.

195ARTICLE 48

196In all circumstances, every citizen, whether civilian or military, has the duty to respect the Constitution, other Laws and regulations of the country.

197He/she has the right to defy orders received from his/her superior authority if the orders constitute a serious and manifest violation of human rights and public freedoms.

198ARTICLE 49. RIGHT AND DUTY TO A CLEAN AND HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AND THE DUTY TO PROTECT IT

199Every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment.

200Every person has the duty to protect, safeguard and promote the environment. The State shall ensure the protection of environment.

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