We, Pasteur BIZIMUNGU,

President of the Republic,


The Transitional National Assembly, meeting in its session of January 19, 1999;

Given the Fundamental Law, especially the Constitution of June 10, 1991 in articles 12, 33 and 69, the Arusha Peace Agreement on Power Sharing in articles 6-d, 40, 72 and 73 of the Arusha Peace Agreement on the Rule of Law in articles 14, 15 and 16 and article 15 of the Protocol of Agreement on miscellaneous issues and conclusive articles;

Given that the above-mentioned article 15 of the Protocol of Agreement on the Rule of Law calls for the establishment of an independent and duly empowered National Human Rights Commission;

Given that Rwanda has in the past experienced prolonged periods of regimes that massively violated Human Rights and had a culture of impunity that culminated in the genocide;


Article one:

A National Human Rights Commission hereafter referred to as the «Commission» is hereby established.

The Commission has its head office in Kigali, the Capital City of Rwanda. However on agreement by the majority of its members, it may establish its branch offices.

Article 2:

The Commission is independent. It is established for an unspecified period.

Article 3:

In general, the Commission has as an objective to investigate and follow-up on human rights violations committed by anyone on the Rwandan territory, especially State organs and individuals under the cover of the State organs as well as any national organisation working in Rwanda.

Article 4:

In particular, the functions of the Commission are:

-     To sensitize and train the Rwandese population in matters of Human Rights;

-     On informing relevant authorities to eventually initiate judicial proceedings in case of Human Rights violations by anyone;

Article 5:

The Commission gives reports on all detected cases of violations of Human Rights to the Office of the President of the Republic, the Government, the National Assembly and the Supreme Court.

Article 6:

Within three (3) months following the end of the calendar year, the Commission submits its annual report of activities to the office of the President of the Republic with a copy each to the Government, the National Assembly and the Supreme Court.

The Public Accounts Court verifies that the financial report included in the annual report is true and correct.

Article 7:

The investigations of the Commission are unlimited in time in order to shed light on and punish within the limits of the law, past and present cases of Human Rights violations.

Article 8:

The Commission consists of 7 members of Rwandese nationality known for their morality, integrity and competence.

The members of the Commission are chosen by the National Assembly out of 10 candidates nominated by the Government. They serve a three (3) year renewable term. Members of the Commission are appointed by a Presidential Decree.

Article 9:

The Commission is supervised by a President of the Commission. The President of the Commission is selected from the members of the Commission by the government and confirmed by the Transitional National Assembly.

The President represents and has supervision over activities of the Commission. In the event of the absence or incapacity of the President, all the powers, duties and functions of the President may be exercised or performed by the member with the most seniority in age.

Article 10:

The President of the Commission has the rank of a Minister whereas the other members have the rank of a Secretary General of a Ministry. As far as penal prosecution is concerned, members of the Commission are personally responsible of their acts. They are subject to the Supreme Court. Nonetheless they can in no case be victims of preventive detention and can appear in justice through proxy. Members of the Commission cannot be sued or prosecuted for their opinions in the scope of the exercise of their duties.

Article 11:

The Commission has a Permanent Secretariat headed by a Secretary of the Commission. The Secretary of the Commission is selected by the Commission and confirmed by the Government. The Secretary of the Commission is appointed by a Prime Minister's Decree. The Secretary of the Commission has the rank of a Director General in the Ministry.

Article 12:

The Commission prepares its own internal regulations, setting out, in particular, its structure and its operations.

Article 13:

The budget of the Commission is paid out of the ordinary budget of the State and donations. The Commission prepares its own draft budget. The Auditor General audits the use of the funds of the Commission.

Article 14:

The dismissal of one or several members of the Commission occurs at the initiative either of the President of the Republic, the Government or of ½ of the members of Parliament at the National Assembly.

It is passed by the National Assembly by the absolute majority of its members in session.

They are removed and the President of the Republic signs the dismissal order.

Article 15:

The dismissal of one or several Commission members can also occur:

-     In case of death or resignation presented by the concerned to the President of the Republic;

-     In case of inefficiency in the achievement of the mission or for behaviour contrary to the criteria used in selecting the members.

-     In case of established involvement in Human Rights violations.

Article 16:

In case of dismissal of a member of the Commission, his replacement is provided within a period not exceeding 3 months. However, when the number of the members of the Commission is reduced to 4, the Commission will be reconstituted within 60 days.

Within a period of 30 days after a vacancy is declared, the Government presents to the National Assembly 2 candidates per post, who fulfill the conditions set in article 8 of this law. The National Assembly chooses and confirms candidates for the vacant posts.

A post is declared vacant by the President of the Commission who informs both the Government and the National Assembly.

Article 17:

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice are responsible for the implementation of this law.

Article 18:

All previous legal provisions contrary to this law are abrogated.

This law comes into force on the date it is published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda.

Kigali, 12/03/1999


President of the Republic


Pierre Célestin RWIGEMA

Prime Minister


Jean de Dieu MUCYO

Minister of Justice


Seen and sealed with the Seal of the Republic:

Minister of Justice

Jean de Dieu MUCYO



This is an official document.

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