Judiciary Reform: Arusha Accord - 4 August 1993

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 V: The Judiciary: Section 1: General Principles

Article 25

1. The powers of the Judiciary shall be exercised by courts, tribunals and other jurisdictions. The Judiciary is independent of the Legislature and the Executive.

Section 5: Miscellaneous Provisions

Sub-Section 1: Modalities of Appointment within the Judiciary.

Article 84

In order to maintain the independence of the Judiciary, posts in the Judiciary shall not be subjected to sharing among political forces. Therefore, applications for the posts of Presiding Judge and Deputy Presiding Judge of the Supreme Court, referred to under Article 30 of the Protocol of Agreement signed on 30th October, 1992, shall be considered without any reference to political parties, in order to better ensure the neutrality of magistrates.

Implementation History

1993

No Implementation

 The accord called for a separation of powers as a general principle and the creation of a competent and independent judiciary. No developments observed this year.

1994

No Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1995

Minimum Implementation

On 5 May 1995, Rwanda adopted a new constitution which dealt with judicial reform. As of October of 1995, however, it was reported that the judiciary was still non-functional.1 In the first move to revive the judicial system, the national assembly appointed six Supreme Court judges.2

  • 1. "Rwanda-Politics: Patching Up A Tattered Judiciary," IPS-Inter Press Service, October 24, 1995.
  • 2. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/1995/1002), December 1, 1995.
1996

Intermediate Implementation

In 1996, the courts were operational. Genocide laws were adopted and enforced ex post facto in specially created genocide courts. 

1997

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1998

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

1999

Intermediate Implementation

In 1999, the government announced plans to create Gaçaca genocide courts.

2000

Intermediate Implementation

In an effort to build the Rwandan judiciary into a professional and strong institution, the government adopted new merit-based recruitment policies in 2000.3

  • 3. "New Recruitment Policy Part of Overhaul Of Judiciary," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, March 30, 2000.
2001

Full Implementation

Elections for Gaçaca judges were held in 2001. A Rwandan Legal Reform Commission was established by law in July 2001. It was composed of Rwandans belonging to various professional and legal institutions, in particular the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice, the Public prosecution service, National University of Rwanda and members of the Bar Association.4 The recommendations of the commission were largely adopted by the government and have been integrated in the new constitution.

2002

Full Implementation

The first sessions for the election of judges began in 2002. In addition, a Commission for Legal Reform proposed a wide-ranging reorganization of the legal system in 2002 that combined elements of the Napoleonic and Common Law systems.