Your body is inviolable

A human body is considered sacred and inviolable. That’s why there are laws in place to protect people from violation of any form.

One such law is Nº 04/2010 of 16/4/2010 Regulating Therapeutic, Educational and Scientific Utilization Of Organs And Products Of The Human Body. Among other things, the regulation prohibits the sale of human organs, and states that a person may only be violated if it is necessary for therapeutic or medical reasons. This means that for example, it is illegal to inject someone with a needle but a doctor can do it to administer treatment for an illness.

However, a person must first provide consent before body organs are added or removed from their body. Anyone who is under the age of twenty-one cannot consent to donating a body organ unless there is no alternative and such an organ can regenerate.

Other forms of violations against the human body that are disallowed by the law, specifically articles 107, 108 and 109 of Nº68/2018 of 30/08/2018 Law determining offences and penalties in general include murder which carries a life sentence, infanticide (murder of a biological child below twelve years), and euthanasia. Euthanasia is the medical act of ending the life of a patient to relieve his or her unbearable suffering caused by a terminal illness.

Article 110 of the Penal Code of Rwanda prohibits poisoning and prescribes a life sentence to the offender.

Killing a person as a result of clumsiness, carelessness, negligence, failure to observe rules or lack of judgment or precaution is also a form of violation. It is defined as manslaughter under article 111 of the Penal Code and carries a prison term not less than six months and a minimum fine of five hundred thousand Rwandan francs.

Another punishable form of human body violation is torture. According to article 112 of the law determining offences and penalties in general, torture means physical or mental suffering “intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him/her or a third person information or a confession, punishing him/her for an act he/she or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him/her or a third person, for any reason based on discrimination of any kind.”

A person who commits such a crime can be imprisoned for a time ranging from twenty years to life depending on the consequences of the torture.

Article 115 of the Penal Code of Rwanda illegalizes and prescribes punishment for administering to another person a substance that may cause death or seriously harm their health while article 116 prohibits inciting and assisting with suicide. Under article 117 of the Penal Code, it is punishable to transmit an illness to another person. The prison sentence for such a crime is twenty to twenty-five years if the transmitted illness is incurable.

The Penal Code also punishes minor violations against the body. Under article 119, intentionally throwing an object at a person that may inconvenience or dirty him/her results in a minimum fine of two hundred thousand Rwandan francs.

Other punishable violations against the human body are unintentional and intentional assault or battery.