Our Background

It will not be necessary to retrace here all the details of the historical evolution of the Rwandan Prosecution but a quick overview will provide a basic grasp of the root causes that led to the present situation. Rwanda inherited from the colonial era a justice system strongly reflecting the Belgium model and thus based on the civil law tradition. For more than three decades that system was preserved with minor changes every now and them.

The 1990-1994 war culminating in genocide left Rwanda with the huge task of bringing back a sense of justice to millions of Rwandans deeply marked by the atrocities of war and genocide either as victims or as perpetrator. The judicial system was almost completely shattered.

The then transitional government managed to contain the social demand for immediate justice and started the daunting task of rebuilding the whole justice system from scratch. Some landmark organic laws that addressed acute needs in justice realm were enacted between 1994 and 2003.


In 2003, Rwanda adopted a new Constitution that enshrined the principle of separation of powers. It established a judiciary that is independent and separate from the legislation and executive branches of government. Simultaneously, and for the first in the history of Rwanda’s justice system, the prosecution function was assigned to a single body : The National Public Prosecution Authority in charge of inter alia the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed on Rwandan soil or by Rwandans.

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