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Military Justice System

The military justice system is composed of two military courts i.e. the Military High Court, the Military Tribunal; and the Military Prosecution Department.

Military courts constitute one category of specialized courts established by the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda. Judges must be military personnel.

As provided by articles 32 and 37 of the Organic Law No 07/2004 of 25/04/2004 determining the Organization, Functioning and Jurisdiction of Courts as modified and completed to date, in order for military courts to legally hear a case, [paraphrased] the number of judges that constitute the jury must be an odd number of not less than three judges. The rank of the presiding judge must be at least of the same military class with the defender. Classes refer to: Troops; Junior Non-Commissioned Officers; Senior Commissioned Officers; Junior Officers; Senior Officers and General Officers.

The work of prosecuting offenders in military courts is exercised by the Military Prosecution Department. Prosecutors and investigators must be military personnel.

The Military Justice System deals with the following types of cases:

• Criminal offenses suspected to have been committed by military personnel in application of the Penal Code. The primary purpose is to maintain order and discipline by holding military offenders accountable for their crimes.

• A suit for damages arising out of a criminal case committed by a soldier may also be filed in the same court hearing the criminal trial in a military court. It may also be separated and filed in a civil court with competent jurisdiction over the suit as provided by article 145 of the referenced Organic Law.


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