Rwanda : The implementation of the convention against torture one of priorities
Rwanda is assigned to implement its constitution of 2003 guarantees the right to integrity and prohibits the use of torture as it was declared in article 15 of the constitution where it says that “every person has the right to physical and mental integrity and no person shall be subjected to torture, physical abuse or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.
The Rwandan constitution says that every people who resort to torture in the execution of a crime will be punished as if they had committed murder. In Rwandan law, torture related-conducts are criminalized only in two circumstances.
The Law on Prevention and Punishment of Gender-Based Violence of 2008 states: “any person guilty of violence by exercising sexual torture or intending to commit sexual torture shall be liable to the life imprisonment with special provisions”.
Secondly, with specific reference to crimes perpetrated between 1 January 1990 and 31 December 1994 and solely in the framework of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the law establishing Gacaca courts of 2004 provides for punishment of the person who committed acts of torture against others, even though they did not result into death, together with his or her accomplices and the person who committed acts of rape or acts of torture against sexual organs, together with his or her accomplices.
Those responsible for acts of torture may be sentenced to penalties ranging from twenty five years to thirty years of imprisonment, if they confessed and proved guilty before the Gacaca court, or to life imprisonment, if they did not.
According to Article 6, any breach of the law committed within Rwandan territory shall be punished according to Rwandan law. It is considered as committed within Rwandan territory any criminal offence perpetrated on board of an aircraft registered in Rwanda or on board of a boat seafaring Rwandan flag when that aircraft or boat are out of other States’ airspace or territorial waters.
Article 10 C, establishes that all Rwandan citizens who commit, outside Rwandan territory, any conduct qualified as a misdemeanor under Rwandan legislation can be prosecuted and judged under its jurisdiction, provided that “the offence is punishable with the law of the country in which it was committed”.
A further title of extraterritorial jurisdiction is set forth under Article 13 C.C., which provides Rwandan courts with jurisdiction over crimes committed abroad by foreigners when the criminal offence represents a threat to national security and when it amounts to forgery of Rwandan stamps or currency.
Moreover, regulating special proceedings, chapter 5 of the 2004 Rwandan Code of Criminal Procedure includes Article 195, which entrusts Rwandan courts with jurisdiction over a certain set of crimes committed abroad by foreigners, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism, taking people as hostages, sale of drugs, money laundering, stealing of motor vehicles for sale abroad and human being trafficking and slavery.
In 2008 the government of Rwanda adopted the law determining the organization, functioning and jurisdiction of courts through whose Article 90 provides the High Court of Rwanda with jurisdiction over non-nationals, non-governmental organizations or associations whether national or foreign, alleged to have committed within or outside the territory of Rwanda any crimes falling within the category of international or cross – border crimes.
In 2001, the government of Rwanda passed a comprehensive law, Law N° 27 of 2001: Rights and protection of the child against violence. The law provides for right to life, prohibits employment of children under the age of 14 years, prescribes imprisonment and fines against any person inflicting torture, ill-treatment and inhuman on a child.
That law provides penalties for offenders of children’s rights: committing children to prostitution and penalties for forced marriage (Art. 49-50). This law is currently being reviewed to make it more comprehensive.
In 2008, law N° 59/2008 on the Prevention and Punishment of Gender Based Violence expanded on the provisions for protection of girl children against gender based violence. Law N° 13/2009 on labor prohibits employment of children under the age of 16, increasing the minimum age from 14 in Law N° 27.
The law instructs Minister in charge to develop list of occupations to be included as worst forms of child labor and prescribes fine and imprisonment of violators. Organic Law N° 7/2004 prescribes penalties for persons involved in trans-border human trafficking, especially in children, including for the purposes of slavery.
In 2009, in consultation with various non-state stakeholders, Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) drafted guidelines for the setting up of committees to fight against Gender Based Violence and protection of the rights of children (Gender Based Violence/Child Protection committees) from the village to the district levels.