When a person who has been committing crime gets caught, they are given ‘special’ treatment.
This is because the person will have committed a concurrence of offences. According to article 83 of the penal code, concurrence of offenses is “a situation where the same person commits several offences before being finally convicted for one of them.”
Someone may also commit concurrence of offenses if they do something that constitutes several offences. This situation is known as the ideal concurrence.
For example, if a person breaks a door lock, enters someone’s house and steals something, that person will have committed both theft and burglary. These are two separate crimes according to Rwandan law.
Someone is also said to have committed concurrent offences if they commit separate crimes that are regarded as separate crimes, one after another. According to article 83 of the penal code, this is called a real concurrence.
For example, the person who has broken someone’s door lock to steal may find the owner of the house there. If he attacks the owner of the house, he will have committed two separate crimes; house breaking and assault.
When a person who has committed concurrent offences is caught, the judge applies the biggest penalty and increases its duration or amount in case of a fine. The increment can go up to half of the maximum of the severe penalty. This is according to article 84 of the penal code.
Simply put, a person who commits two crimes gets maximum punishment for the biggest crime of all the crimes committed and an increment. If the person is supposed to be imprisoned for a year, they can end up in jail for one and a half years.
The person may also get an additional penalty even if it is only provided for one of the concurrent offences.
Article 84 of the penal code further explains that if a person commits concurrent crimes that have the same punishment, it is considered that the most severe penalty is one which is accompanied by a fine.
Someone who has committed concurrent offences cannot be given the punishment of paying a fine because a fine, according to article 84 of the penal code, is considered less severe than imprisonment.