Critical Evaluation of Right to a Fair Trial in Rwandan Criminal Law

Dr. Nshimiyimana Didace
Advocate at Supreme Court of Rwanda

Volume III, Issue III, 2020

The right to a fair trial is is a fundamental safeguard to ensure that accused persons are protected from arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of their freedom and human rights. According to international human rights law, the states must respect, protect and fulfil its obligations related to the enjoyment of fair trial rights by the accused persons within their territory and/or jurisdiction. Thus, Rwanda, as well as other states, must organize their judicial and legal systems well as to align with the requirements of right to a fair trial. This study evaluates the adequacy of Rwandan criminal laws in the light of the right to a fair trial. It analyzes the legislations which are closely related to the fair trial rights and criminal court proceedings. In this perspective, the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, the code of criminal procedure, and the penal code were qualitatively analyzed. This research argues that despite attempts to reform and domesticate international conventions and agreements, Rwandan criminal judicial system still largely falls far too short of complying with the international human rights obligations related to the right to a fair trial. This contribution recommends that the current criminal legal framework should be reformed for improvement of the Rwanda’s criminal legal frameworks.

Keywords: Rwanda, Right to a Fair Trial, Criminal Procedure, Constitution, Penal Code


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