The Supreme Court will on November 27 rule on a petition that was filed by Certa Law, a Kigali-based law firm against article 108 of the penal code that prescribes a 5 to 7-year jail term for women who get convicted for unintentionally killing their infants due to accidents or postpartum mental health issues. The petition was filed last month and in it, the lawyers say the article in question has two main weaknesses, one of which is that it is discriminatory since it only accounts for mothers, and leaves out fathers, yet both can do such acts. This may mean that a father who does the same may be treated with unfair favour, because they will instead be judged using the law that generally punishes involuntary man-slaughter, and may end up being handed a jail term that can be as short as 6 months if convicted. “There is discrimination there. It is not fair that a man who is convicted of involuntary man-slaughter is punished with a jail term of 6 months, yet a woman who does a similar thing is jailed for up to 7 years,” said Fiston Rwagitare, a lawyer working with Certa Law in an interview with The New Times. “Article 15 and 16 of the national Constitution are against discrimination. Also, the Maputo agreement of 2003 asks countries to change laws that are discriminatory, “ he added. “Our request to the court was that this article should be removed because it is against the Constitution. Article 3 of the Constitution says that all articles that contradict with the Constitution have to be removed.” The ruling is expected to be delivered by Chief Justice Faustin Nteziryayo. The second thing that Certa Law challenged in article 108 is that the law itself recognises that women who commit such crimes are not in the right mental health state after giving birth, but it still punishes them as if they did it intentionally. “When you say that a person who does such acts is not in her mind, and it is evident that her brain was not working properly during the time of doing it, then you should not call her a criminal, and punish her,” Rwagitare said. Certa Law’s petition is only in regard to article 108, and does not concern women who kill infants deliberately. Women who kill their infants deliberately are judged according to the law that administers punishments in murder or manslaughter cases.