The New Rwandan Penal Code

For Journalists, the new Rwandan Penal Code is a highways towards the prison, articles 233 and 236 seem to have been put in place to limit the freedom of expression and protect the authorities against all critics and accountability.

Article 233: Humiliation of national authorities and persons in charge of public service

Any person who, verbally, by gestures or threats, in writings or cartoons, humiliates a member of Parliament when exercising his/her mandate, a member of the Cabinet, security officers or any other person in charge of a public service in the performance or in connection with the performance of his/her duties, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one (1) year and less than two (2) years and a fine of not less than five hundred thousand Rwandan francs (FRW 500,000) and not more than one million(FRW 1,000,000) Rwandan francs.

If contempt takes place during a session of the Parliament or if it is directed to any of the top ranking authorities, the penalties provided for under Paragraph One of this Article are doubled.

Article 236: Insults or defamation against the President of the Republic

Any person who insults or defames the President of the Republic, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to a term imprisonment of not less than five (5) years and not more than seven (7) years and a fine of more than five million (FRW 5,000,000) Rwandan francs and not more than seven million (FRW 7,000,000) Rwandan francs.

The full Rwandan Penal Code below:

The New Rwanda Penal Code