Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda


This document is the first Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, proclaimed in November 1962. From 1890 to 1916, Rwanda was part of German East Africa. In 1916, during World War I, it was occupied by Belgian troops from the neighboring Belgian Congo. After the war, it was joined with Burundi to become a Belgian League of Nations mandate, under the name Ruanda-Urundi. On July 1, 1962, the union of Ruanda-Urundi was dissolved and the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi became separate, independent states. The leading political party in Rwanda was the Parti du Mouvement de l'Emancipation Hutu (Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement), whose founder, Grégoire Kayibanda (1924-76), served as president of the country from 1962 to 1973. The Belgian colonists drafted the 1962 constitution, with limited participation from the Rwandans themselves. On paper, the constitution provided for a multi-party system and guaranteed human and political rights, but in practice it failed to prevent the spiral of ethnic and political violence that culminated in the tragic genocide of 1994, in which nearly one million Rwandans, mostly from the minority Tutsi group, were killed.


Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

l’Imprimerie du Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda


Title in Original Language

Constitution de la République Rwandaise


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

37 pages

Last updated: September 29, 2014