There is no justification for violence against a fellow human being and that’s why it’s illegal and punishable by the Penal Code of Rwanda.
Article 148 of the Penal Code says, “Any person who intentionally causes injuries to another, or beats or commits any serious acts of violence against another person shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of six (6) months to two (2) years and a fine of one hundred thousand (100,000) to five hundred thousand Rwandan francs (500,000) or one of these penalties.”
Both the term of imprisonment and the fine increase if the offender plans the attack ahead of time because it means they were intent on causing harm.
If the battery or body injuries result in physical damage or illness for more than a week, the offender is imprisoned for a maximum jail term of five years and pays a maximum fine of one million Rwandan francs. This is according to article 149 of the Penal Code.
The maximum term of imprisonment increases to eight years if it is found that the offender had premeditated the attack.
Article 150 of the Penal Code prescribes an even more serious punishment if battery or body injuries result in permanent disability. For example, if the victim becomes permanently blind or deaf or they lose part of their body or they can’t work anymore, the perpetrator goes to jail for seven years minimum. The punishment is higher if the attack was planned.
For battery and bodily injuries that result in death, article 151 of the Penal Code prescribes “a term of imprisonment of ten (10) years to fifteen (15) years.” However, if the offender was intentional on causing harm or ambushed the victim, he/she faces life imprisonment.
The Penal Code is particularly committed to protecting children from battery and body injury. Article 152 says that any person who “inflicts battery or bodily injuries on a child or a person who is unable to defend him/herself due to his/her physical or mental state or old age, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of one hundred thousand (100,000) to five hundred thousand (500,000) Rwandan francs.”
If the attack is premeditated and it results in illness or permanent incapacity for more than one month, the minimum term of imprisonment is five years and the minimum fine is one million Rwandan francs.
Another form of battery that the Penal Code does not condone is starving or denying drink to a person for whom one is responsible. Article 153 says that a person who commits that crime and it leads to death, faces imprisonment for a period ranging from five to seven years if it wasn’t intentional. If the intention was to cause death, the offender is liable to life imprisonment.
It is also illegal to give someone a substance that is likely to result in illness or death. The perpetrator of such a crime goes to jail for two years minimum if the crime is not intentional. If it is intentional and results in an incurable illness or inability to work, the minimum term of imprisonment is five years. If it is intentional and results in death, the punishment is life imprisonment.