Allow me to comment on James Munyaneza’s opinion titled “MPs should lead the way in eliminating archaic laws” The Newtimes, June, 8.
After reading his article, which says that MPs had raised or want to raise the jail term, punishment or penalties on different offences, I would like to make the following observations.
1. We appreciate the interest of the author on what is being done in Parliament. Comments and opinions are always healthy.
2. It appears that the author never followed our process up to the last stage. It would have been better to follow the whole process, compare the draft bill that came from the Executive, the amendments that were made by the Chamber of Deputies and those by the Senate.
3. Before being submitted to the Plenary Assembly for adoption, the bill is discussed in Parliamentary Committee where the Cabinet is represented by the Ministry which drafted the concerned bill.
The same process was followed in the consideration of the Penal Code. This is to explain how the whole process is thoroughly carried out and at every stage of the process there is a representative of the Executive.
4. The Minister of Justice had to intervene because he was part of the entire process and as long as the bill is not yet voted, it can always be returned to the Committee and any interested person may, for one reason or another, ask that a given article be revised by the Committee and this was the case when the Minister of Justice made the request.
5. It should be reminded that the legislative process for this penal code bill is still under way. After its adoption by the Plenary Assembly of the Senate, it will be sent to the Chamber of Deputies and in the case that the amendments proposed by the Senate are not acceptable to the Chamber of Deputies, both Chambers will set up a joint committee which will make a proposal as the compromise.
The proposed compromise will then have to be adopted by both Chambers.
This is to indicate that today, the penal code is still subjected to amendments.
6. The Minister of Justice requested the Senate to accord him more time to reconsider certain articles of the bill under consideration in Parliament.
The Law is viewed as an instrument to implement the Government Policy, thus, it is normal that the Executive which initiated the penal code and the judicial policy ensures that the penal code is best suited to its judicial policy.
In fact, the Executive and the Parliament permanently discuss “sticking issues” in order to harmonize their views for the common good of the Nation.
We recommend that the writer of this article always follows the whole legislative process before criticizing a bill which is still under consideration in the Parliament
Deputy Clerk of the Senate