Criminal liability for third person's act: case of release on bail
par Pascal KAVUTTSE
National university of Rwanda - Licence 2011
This work entitled: «criminal liability for third person's acts: case of release on bail» has the hypothesis of personality principle of responsibility and punishment of fines like other penal sanctions in case of release on bail.
In civil law, there exist cases of liability for others' act. Unlike, criminal law is framed in terms of imposing punishment for bad conducts, rather than of grating rewards for good conduct, the emphasis is more on the prevention of the undesirable than on the encouragement of the desirable. Thus, criminal justice system before punishing, considers certain elements of crime and some circumstances that can mitigate or aggravate penalties or to imply irresponsibility of perpetrator. However, in principle the penalties are incurred personally by the offender unless there are causes of non responsibility.
Though, the process of charging to some one a offence let him/her certain rights as long as he/she is presumed innocent. Therefore, he/she can be provisionally released whether on bail conditions, on bail bond or on bail surety. His/her release does not mean that if his/her guilt is found he/she will not be convicted or execute the sentence. Indeed, she/he must execute it unless he/she escaped the justice. However, if he/she escapes, the enforcement authorities have only one recourse: the pursuit of wealth of the offender or that of his surety in case of surety bail, for execution of pecuniary penalties like fines.
It is worth to mention that this research clarifies what release on bail is under Rwandan law, how the punishment of fines violates personality principle of criminal liability and punishment not only in case of release on bail but also in general. The execution of fine punishment is sometimes against the constitution in its article 17 «criminal liability is personal». The release on bail is also against constitution. There is no equal protection if a suspect is released on payment of a sum of money. However, release on bail is reserved to the richer and those who have not financial means shall never benefit provisional release.
The principle of personality of criminal responsibility implies the personality of punishment meaning that a person is punishable because of the offence he/she committed him/herself or he/she participated. Criminal justice system should ensure as far as possible if a person to execute or to serve a punishment is personally offender.
The release on bail should be limited only to the bond and conditions, not to the surety. If release on bail surety is necessary, a surety should be bound only to civil penalties rather than penal sanctions. The criminal justice should be careful to the fines penalties. It should recognize that fines are penal sanctions, then, criminal liability is personal.
As a particular recommendation, judges or magistrates in taking decisions of release on bail, would follow the supreme law, the constitution, rather than other laws. Their motivations denying bail on surety would be based on constitutional principle of personality of criminal liability. If not their decisions will be against the article 17 of Rwandan constitution. It is good and necessary to know and to respect the hierarchy of norms.
The legislator should correct some articles of code of criminal procedure especially those relating to release on bail. For example article 90 which states «bail conditions can be ordered when the offence a person is charged of is a misdemeanor or a felony» and article 105 para.2 which states «no bond shall be admitted in respect of felonies». The problem is how damages arising from the offence, property to be restituted and fines will be recovered in case the accused of felony and released on bail conditions, escapes? Those articles give chance to that one accused of felony rather than the accused of misdemeanor.
1. Constitution of republic of Rwanda of 04/06/2003 (O.G special No of 4 june2003, p. 119) as amended up to date.
2. Rome statute (Text of the Rome Statute circulated as document A/CONF.183/9 of 17 July 1998and corrected by process-verbaux of 10 November 1998, 12 July 1999, 30 November 1999, 8 May 2000, 17 January 2001 and 16January 2002. The Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002).
3.Law No 13/2004 of 17/5/2004 establishing code of criminal procedure, O.G special No of 30/07/2004, modified and complemented by law n° 20/2006 of 22/04/2006, O.G special n° of 27 may 2006.
4. Decree law of 30 July 1888 [Book III ] contracts or conventional obligations (B.O., 1888, P. 109)
5. .Decree law No21/77 of 1/8august 1977 establishing Rwandan penal code(O.G No 13, 1978 p.1) modified by decree law No23/81 of 1981 (O.G 1981,P.940) confirmed by law No 01/82 of26 January 1982(O.G no 1982,p.227)and law 08/1983 of 10 March 1983 (O.G of 1983, p.206)
6. Code of criminal procedure of republic of French.
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