Constitutional Reform: Arusha Accord - 4 August 1993

Article 3

The two parties also agree that the Constitution of 10th June, 1991 and the Arusha Peace Agreement shall constitute indissolubly the Fundamental Law that shall govern the Country during the Transition period, taking into account the following provisions:

1. The following Articles of the Constitution shall be replaced by the provisions of the Peace Agreement relating to the same matters. The Articles in question are: 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 4,3, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, .50, 51, 52, ,54, 55, .56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 73, 74, 75 paragraph 2, 77 paragraphs 3 and 4, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88 paragraph 1, 90, 96, 99, 101.

2. In case of conflict between the other provisions of the Constitution and those of the Peace Agreement, the provisions of the Peace Agreement shall prevail.

Protocol of Agreement on Power-Sharing within the Framework of a Broad-Based Transitional Government between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front (9 January 1993)

Chapter IV: Specialised Commissions

Article 24

In addition to the Commissions already agreed upon in the previous Agreements, the following broad-based specialised Commissions shall be established:

B. Legal and Constitutional Commission. This Commission shall be responsible for:

1. Drawing up a list of adaptations of national legislation to the provisions of the Peace Agreement, in particular those provisions relating to the Rule of Law.

2. Prepare a preliminary draft of the Constitution which shall govern the country after the Transitional Period.

Article 41

The Constitution which shall govern the country after the Transition Period shall be prepared by the Legal and Constitutional Commission comprising national experts referred to under Article 24.B of this Protocol. This Commission, which shall be under the National Assembly, shall prepare, after an extensive consultation with all the strata of the population, a preliminary draft Constitution which shall be submitted to the Government for advice, before submitting it to the National Assembly which shall finalise the draft Constitution, to be submitted to a Referendum for adoption.

Implementation History

1993

No Implementation

Constitutional reform did not take place in 1993.

1994

No Implementation

Constitutional reform did not take place in 1994.

1995

Intermediate Implementation

On 5 May 1995, Rwanda adopted a new constitution. The new constitution consisted of: 1. Constitutional items singled out from the constitution of 10 June 1991; 2. The Arusha peace agreement, signed on 4 August 1993; 3. The RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front] declaration of 17 July 1994 establishing national institutions; 4. The agreement signed on 24th November 1994 between political parties which were not implicated in the previous year’s genocide; In a 57 member national assembly, 55 members voted in favor of the new constitution and two abstained; The Arusha peace accord was part of the new constitution, but the new constitution also included RPF’s declaration of July 1994 and the protocol agreement of November 1994.

1996

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1997

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1998

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1999

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2000

Intermediate Implementation

In 2000, the constitutional drafting commission was established and the constitution drafting process began in Rwanda. The participation of citizens in the process was encouraged and, in this regard, the prime minister called on local leaders to play a role in sensitizing and mobilizing the population towards full participation in the ongoing constitution drafting process.1 Regarding the draft constitution, the commission also consulted prisoners and refugees in Tanzania and South Africa. The draft constitution was defined the system of government and was expected to be finished by July 2003.2

  • 1. "Constitution Needs Participation of All," Africa News, July 12, 2001.
  • 2. "New Constitution for Rwanda by July 2003: Report," Agence France Presse, September 18, 2001
2001

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2002

Intermediate Implementation

In November 2002, the constitutional commission put forward a draft constitution, according to which the transitional period (and under which the government of national unity had been governed since its establishment on 19 July 1994) was set to end in July of the following year.3

Postscript: A two day cabinet meeting was held in February 2003 to discuss the draft constitution. The president, who was presiding over the discussion, then handed over its findings to the national assembly for the national referendum scheduled for 25 May.4 The draft constitution was adopted by the assembly on 23 April 2003.5 In the referendum of 25 May 2003, the draft constitution was adopted with more than 90% voters supporting the proposed draft.6 Once the Rwandan Supreme Court approved the referendum result, president Kagame signed the new constitution which then came into effect on 4 June 2003.7 The RPF-led government implemented extensive gender-based reforms, including changing inheritance laws and property laws to increase women’s rights. The new constitution encouraged the election of many women to public office, particularly parliament.

  • 3. "New Constitution Stipulates Transitional Period to End in July 2003," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, November 13, 2002
  • 4. "President Opens Two-Day Cabinet Discussions of Draft Constitution," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, February 28, 2003.
  • 5. "World Briefing Africa: Rwanda: New Constitution," New York Times, April 24, 2003.
  • 6. "Rwanda Voters Approve Draft Constitution," Voice of America News, May 27, 2003.
  • 7. "Rwanda's New Constitution Comes Into Force," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 4, 2003