|Chapter V: Specialized Chambers (Articles 19-23)|
|Chapter II: Categorization (Articles 2-3)||Chapter VI: Appeals and Review (Articles 24-26)|
|Chapter III: Confession and guilty plea procedure (Articles 4-13)||Chapter VII: Damages (Articles 27-41)|
|Chapter IV: Penalties (Articles 14-18)||Chapter VIII: Various final provisions (Articles 33-41)|
CHAPTER I - GENERALITIES
The purpose of this organic law is the organization of criminal proceedings against persons who are accused of having since 1 October 1990, committee acts set out and sanctioned under the Penal Code and which constitute:
a) either the crime of genocide or crimes against humanity as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948, in the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 and its additional protocols, as well as in the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity of 26 November 1968, the three of which were ratified by Rwanda ; or
b) offences set out in the Penal Code which the Public Prosecution Department alleges or the defendant admits were committed in connection with the events surrounding the genocide and crimes against humanity.
CHAPTER II - CATEGORIZATION
Persons accused of offences set out in Article 1 of this organic law and committed during the period between 1 October 1990 and 1994 shall, on the basis of their acts of participation, be classified into one of the following categories :
a) person whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal participation place them among the planners, organizers, instigators, supervisors and leaders of the crime of genocide or of a crime against humanity :
b) persons who acted in positions of authority at the national, perfectoral, communal, sector or cell level, or in a political party, the or fostered such crimes;
c) notorious murderers who by virtue of the zeal or excessive malice with which they committed atrocities, distinguished themselves in their areas of residence or where they passed;
d) persons who committed acts sexual torture;
persons whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal participation place them among perpetrators, conspirators of accomplices of intentional homicide or of serious assault against the person causing death;
persons whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal participation make them guilty of other serious assaults against the person;
persons who committed offences against property.
For the purposes of this organic law, an accomplice is a person who provided essential assistance in the commission of the offence or who, by any means, diverted criminal prosecution of persons referred to in Article 2 of this organic law or failed to give information about them .
The fact that any of the acts referred to in this organic law was committed by a subordinate does not relieve his superior of criminal responsibility if he knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to punish or prevent such acts while these measures were available to him.
CHAPTER III - CONFESSION AND GUILTY PLEA PROCEDURE
SECTION I: COMING INTO FORCE, ELIGIBILITY AND CONDITIONS
The Confession and Guilty Plea Procedure shall come into force the date this organic law is published in the Official Gazette and shall remain in force for eighteen months ; it may be renewed by presidential order for a period not longer than an additional eighteen months.
The Officer of the Public Prosecution Department responsible for the investigation shall inform the accused of the accused's right and interest to participate in the Confession and Guilty plea Procedure. The Officer shall note on the record that the accused has been so informed.
All persons who have committed offences set out in Article I have the right to participate in the Confession and Guilty Plea Procedure.
The right to participate, which cannot be denied, may be exercised at any time before the criminal file is brought to the attention of the President of the competent tribunal. This right can only be exercised once and the confession can be withdrawn at any time before it is pronounced again by the interested person before the court.
Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1), persons who fall within Category 1, as defined in Article 2, shall not be eligible to the reductions in penalties set out in Articles 15 and 16.
For the purposes of this Section, a confession is admissible if it includes:
(a) a detailed description of all the offences set out under Article 1 that the applicant committed, including the date, time and the scene of each act, as well as the names of victims and witnesses, if known;
(b) information with respect to accomplices, conspirators and all other information useful to the exercise of public prosecution;
(c) an apology for the offences committed by the applicant;
(d) an offer to plead guilty to the offences described by the applicant in accordance with the provisions of sub-paragraph (a)
The confession shall be recorded and transcribed by an Officer of the Public Prosecution Department and where the confession is submitted in writing, the Officer of the Public Prosecution Department shall request the applicant to confirm the confession.
The applicant shall sign or mark with a fingerprint the record in the presence of the Officer of the Public Prosecution Department, who shall also sign the record.
The Public Prosecution Department shall inform the applicant of the category within which the confessed acts place the applicant in order to allow the applicant to waive or confirm his choice to proceed with the Confession and Guilty Plea Procedure.
Where the applicant renounces his choice to proceed with the Confession and Guilty Plea Procedure, the applicant may withdraw the confession which shall then be inadmissible as evidence against the applicant in any subsequent proceedings.
The Public Prosecution Department shall verify the accuracy and completeness of the confession and its compliance with the conditions stipulated in Article 6 within a maximum period of three months from the date of the signature of the record made in accordance with Article 6.
A record giving the reasons for the acceptance or rejection of the confession and offer to plead guilty shall be prepared following the verification; this record shall be signed by an Officer of the Public Prosecution Department.
Where a confession and offer to plead guilty is rejected, the Public Prosecution Department shall proceed with the investigation of the casein accordance with ordinary procedures and shall not accept a subsequent confession.
Where the Public Prosecution Department accepts a confession and offer to plead guilty, an end of investigation memorandum containing the charges established by the confession shall be included in the case file and the file shall be forwarded to the competent court which shall then hear and determine the case.
As investigations proceed, a list of persons suspected or accused of acts placing them within Category I shall be published three months after this organic law is published in the Official Gazette, and shall be republished periodically thereafter as it is updated.
Notwithstanding the provisions of article 5, paragraph 3, a person who confesses and pleads guilty, and whose name was not published on the list of Category 1, shall not be placed in Category 1 if the confession is complete and accurate. If his confession should place him in Category 1, he shall be placed in Category 2.
Persons who shall have confessed their criminal acts before the list of names of Category 1 is published shall be placed in Category 1 if the acts they have committed place them there.
Where a person is later found to have committed offences that he has not confessed, he shall at any time, be prosecuted for these offences and placed in the relevant category.
SECTION 2: HEARING, ADJUDICATION AND EFFECTS OF THE CONFESSION AND GUILTY PLEA PROCEDURE
Under the Confession and Guilty Plea Procedure, the hearing shall proceed as follows:
(1) the clerk shall call the case;
(2) the accused shall state his name
(3) the President of the bench shall ask the civil party to identify itself;
(4) the clerk shall read the charges;
(5) the Public Prosecution Department shall have the opportunity to be heard;
(6) the clerk shall read the record of the confession and guilty plea and, if any, the document containing the confession;
(7) the bench shall examine the accused to verify whether the confession and guilty plea have been made in a voluntary manner with full knowledge of the case, including the nature of the charge, the sentence range and the absence of the right of appeal from the criminal provisions of the judgment to come;
(8) the civil party shall state its claim;
(9) the accused and, where applicable, any other person legally responsible shall present on after the other their defence to any civil claim or make any other statement in mitigation of their responsibility;
(10) the bench shall receive the guilty plea and hearing shall be declared closed.
Where the confession has been rejected by the Public Prosecution Department following verification, as set out in Article 7, the accused may confirm to the bench at trial his request to participate in the Confession and Guilty Plea Procedure.
The accused shall make the request after the clerk has read the charges, but no later than during his interrogation.
Where it is determined by the bench at the end of the hearing that the conditions included in Article 7 for a valid confession and guilty plea were met, the bench shall apply Articles 15 and 16.
Where it is determined by the bench during the course of the hearing that the conditions for a valid confession and guilty plea are not met, the bench shall dismiss the confession and guilty plea.
The bench shall similarly dismiss the confession and guilty plea where the accused waives his right to the confession procedure.
The competent court may requalify the charges that are before it.
Where the bench alters a charge based on facts which the applicant has admitted and confessed the bench shall not dismiss the confession and guilty plea but shall order the reopening of the debates to allow the accused, after being advised of the new categorization, to confirm or waive his choice to offer a confession and guilty plea.
Where the bench dismisses the confession and guilty plea, it may schedule the case for trial at a later date or return it to the Office of the Public Prosecutor for completion of the investigation.
In subsequent proceedings, the confession and accompanying guilty plea shall be inadmissible as evidence against the accused.
CHAPTER IV - PENALTIES
The penalties imposed for the offences set out in Article I shall be those provided under the Penal Code, except :
(a) that persons whose acts place them in Category 1 are liable to the death penalty;
(b) that for persons whose acts place them in Category 2, the death penalty is replaced by life imprisonment;
(c) where a confession and guilty plea have been accepted, in which case Articles 15 and 16 of this organic law apply ;
(d) that the acts committed by persons placed in Category 4 shall only give rise to civil damages determined by amicable agreement between the parties with the assistance of the community, failing which the rules pertaining to criminal proceedings and civil actions shall apply. If the accused is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, the sentence is suspended.
For the application of this article, sub-paragraph (d), the conditions set out in article 97 of the Penal Code do not apply.
Where a conviction is pronounced following a confession and guilty plea offered prior to prosecution, the penalty shall be reduced as follows:
(a) persons whose acts place them within Category 2 shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of between 7 and 11 years;
(b) persons whose acts place them within Category 3 shall be liable to a penalty equivalent to one-third of the penalty the tribunal would normally impose.
Where a conviction is pronounced following a confession and guilty plea offered after prosecution, the penalty shall be reduced as follows :
(a) persons whose acts place them within Category 2 shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of between 12 and 15 years;
(b) persons whose acts place them within Category 3 shall be liable to a penalty equivalent to one half of the penalty the tribunal would normally impose.
Persons found guilty under this organic law shall be liable to the withdrawal of their civic rights in the following manner:
(a) for persons whose acts place them within Category 1, the withdrawal for life of all civic rights;
(b) for persons whose acts place them within Category 2, the withdrawal for life of civic rights as provided in Article 66 of the Penal Code, sub-paragraphs 2*, 3* and 5*.
Persons whose acts place them within Category 3 shall incur the civic consequences provided by law.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 94 of the Penal Code, a perpetrator who is sentenced for multiple crimes shall serve the most severe sentence.
CHAPTER V. SPECIALIZED CHAMBERS
SECTION 1. ESTABLISHMENT AND JURISDICTION OF SPECIALIZED CHAMBERS
There are hereby established, within the Tribunals of First Instance and the military courts, Specialized Chambers with exclusive jurisdiction over the offences set out in Article 1.
Each Specialized Chamber may include several benches sitting simultaneously.
One or more of these benches shall be composed of magistrates for minors, which shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the offences set out in Article 1 committed by minors.
A specialized Chamber may have several benches which may hear cases as itinerant Chambers in any location within its territorial jurisdiction for as long a period as its President deems necessary.
Chapter V and Chapter VI of this organic law are not applicable to cases where the accused is subject to special rules of jurisdiction by virtue of holding an official position.
SECTION 2 - COMPOSITION OF SPECIALIZED CHAMBERS
Each Specialized Chamber shall be comprised of such number of career or auxiliary magistrates as are deemed necessary and they shall be placed under the direction of a Vice President of the Tribunal of First Instance or the military courts. The Vice - President shall be responsible for the organization and the assignment of duties within the Chamber.
Career magistrates and Presidents of the Specialized Chambers of the Tribunals of First Instance shall be named by order of the President of the Supreme Court, following a decision of the College of the President and the Vice Presidents of the Supreme Court.
Career magistrates shall be named from among the magistrates of the Tribunal of First Instance of which the Specialized Chamber forms a part.
Auxiliary magistrates and the President of the Specialized Chamber of the military courts shall be named in accordance with normal procedures.
The bench of the Specialized Chambers shall be comprised of three magistrated with the President of the bench named by the President of the Chamber.
SECTION 3. THE PUBLIC PROSECUTION DEPARTMENT
Officers of the Public Prosecution Department for the Specialized Chambers of the Tribunals of First Instance shall be named by the Prosecutor General of the Court of Appeal from among those assigned to the Office of the Public Prosecutor on Proposal of the Public Prosecutor. They shall be supervised by the First Deputy designated for that purpose.
The Officers of the Public Prosecution Department of the Court of Appeal responsible for handling appeals from decisions of the Specialized Chambers are designated by the Prosecutor General of the Court of Appeal.
The Prosecutor General of the Supreme Court shall have supervision and general direction over the lower and higher lever Offices of the Public Prosector with respect to matters relevant to the jurisdiction of the Specialized Chambers.
The Officers of the Public Prosecution Department of the Specialized Chamber of the War Council shall be designated by the Military Auditor.
The Military Auditor General of the Military Court shall designate the Officers of the Public Prosecution Department who shall have carriage cases before this court.
CHAPTER VI - APPEALS AND REVIEW
Decisions of the Specialized Chambers are subject to opposition and appeal; the litation period for the filing of an appeal is fifteen days.
Appeals shall be based solely on questions of law flagrant errors off act.
Within a maximum period of three months following the filing of the file before the appellate court, the appellate court shall decide the admissibility of the appeal on the basis of the appeal documents. Where the appeal is found to be admissible, the appellate court shall decide the appeal on it merits on the basis of the appeal documents. This decision is not subject to appeal or review.
Interlocutory rulings and decisions rendered subsequent to the acceptance of the confession and guilty plea are not subject to appeal or review, with the exception of civil interests flowing from these decisions.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 24, where the appellate court condemns a person to death following an acquittal at first instance, the condemned person may, within fifteen day of conviction, apply for a review in cassation and the Court of Cassation may decide the case on its merits.
A review in cassation shall be based solely on questions of law or flagrant errors of fact.
Within a maximum period of three months following the filing of the file before the Court of Cassation, the Court of Cassation shall decide the admissibility of the application for review application based on the application documents. Where the review is found to be admissible, the Court of Cassation shall decide the application for review on its merits on the basis of the application documents. This decision is not subject to appeal or review.
The Prosecutor General of the Supreme Court, on his own initiative and solely in the interests of the law, may apply to the Court of Cassation for judicial review of any decision contrary to law rendered at the appellate level within three months of that decision.
CHAPTER VII - DAMAGES
The Public Prosecution Department represents, as of right or upon request, the civil interests of minors and other legally incompetent persons who do not have legal representation.
At any time between the commencement of the investigation and the rendering of the final decision in a case, the President of the Specialized Chamber of the Court may, upon written application by an aggrieved party or the Public Prosecution Department, take all conservation measures necessary to safeguard the civil interests of the aggrieved party.
The ordinary rules governing denounciations, complaints and civil actions are applicable to cases before the specialized chambers.
Victims acting either individually or through legally constituted associations for the defence of victims, represented by their legal representative or by a special representative designated according to their status, may request the commencement of a public prosecution by submitting a written petition setting out the grounds for the prosecution to the public prosecutor of the competent jurisdiction. the status of the civil party shall be given to the petitioner.
The civil party is exempt from the payment of legal fees.
Where the Public Prosecution Department has not instituted proceedings before the competent jurisdiction within six months of the submission of a petition , the civil party may commence a private prosecution, in which case the private party bears the burden of proof.
The civil party is exempt from payment of legal fees.
Civil and criminal convictions are open to appeal in accordance with article 24. The person accused in the private prosecution shall benefited of the appeal and the appellate court shall decide the case in its entirety.
Convicted persons whose acts place them within Category 1 under Article 2 shall be held joinly and severally liable for all damages caused in the country by their acts of criminal participation, regardless of where the offences were committed.
Persons whose acts place them within Categories 2, 3, or 4 shall be held liable for damages for the criminal acts they have committed.
Without prejudice to the rights of civil parties present or represented at trial, and at the request of the Public Prosecution Department, the court shall award damages to victims not yet identified.
The court having jurisdiction over the civil action shall rule on damages even where the accused has died during the course of the proceedings or has benefited from an amnesty.
Damages awarded to victims who have not yet been identified shall be deposited in a victims Compensation Fund, whose creation and operation shall be determined by a separate law.
Prior to the adoption of the law creating the fund, damages awarded shall be deposited in an account at the National Bank of Rwanda opened for this purpose by the Minster responsible for Social Affairs and the Fund shall be used only after the adoption of the law.
Chapter VIII: VARIOUS FINAL PROVISIONS
The Public Prosecution Department may institute proceedings against persons having no known domicile or residence in Rwanda or who are outside the country and against whom there are corroborating evidence or substantial evidence of guilt, whether or not such persons have been previously examined by the Public Prosecution Department.
The time for the service of a subpoena shall be one month for persons having no known domicile or residence in Rwanda. Where this is the case, a copy of the writ shall be posted on the main door of the court where the chambers having jurisdiction over the case sits.
Exceptions to joinder or indivisibility shall be raised before the court seized with the case and that court has exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the applicability of the exception.
Applications requesting the withdrawal of magistrates shall be brought before the jurisdiction seized with the case.
Applications may be decided in conjuction with the merits of the case, or may be decided by interlocutory ruling from which there is no appeal review.
Persons prosecuted under the provisions of this organic law enjoy the same rights of defence given to other persons subject to criminal prosecution, including the right to the defence counsel of their choice, but not at government expense.
Prosecution and penalties for offences constituting the crimes against humanity are not subject to limitation period.
Until the publication of the general law on the crime of genocide and the crimes against humanity, whoever commits any act constituting one or more of these crimes after December 1994 shall be liable to the penalities provided by the Penal Code, and shall not be eligible to any penalty reduction as provided by this organic law.
Unless otherwise provided in this organic law, all laws, including the Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Judicial Organization and Jurisdiction, shall apply to proceedings before the Specialized chambers.
This organic law is written in the three official languages of the Republic of Rwanda, the version in Kinyarwanda being considered as the original.
This organic law comes into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda.