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PRO-FEMMES/TWESE HAMWE REQUESTS THE REVISION AND PROPER ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW GOVERNING MATRIMONIAL REGIMES, DONATIONS AND SUCCESSIONS.

In consolidating efforts towards eliminating all forms of discriminations, ensuring social economic justice, and ensuring gender equality, Pro-Femmes/Twese Hamwe works with different stakeholders to raise awareness on different laws, to analyze and identify gaps, and to advocate for effective law enforcement.

Pro- Femmes/ Twese Hamwe organized dissemination and reflection workshops on the newly enacted law Nº27/2016 of 08/07/2016 governing Matrimonial Regimes, donations, and Successions with key stakeholders at boththe local and national level. During the dissemination of the above mentioned law, some challenges and gaps related to the accuracy of law provisions and enforcement were identified. Some of them are mentioned in this article and will be submitted to the concerned institutions for action.

(i)Article 7 : Spouses are jointly liable for debts contracted before and after their marriage.
Gap/ challenge :

The law provision clearly states that spouses are jointly held responsible for debts contracted before and after their marriage. However under community of property regime, spouses are not required to disclose the inventory of their properties and debts to Civil Status Registrar at marriage. Therefore the debts contracted by either spouse before marriage are known. This results in difficulties in enforcing the law provision, but is also related to conflicts after marriage when spouses do not agree upon those debts.

Amendment proposed : : In the law of community of property, prospective spouses should be required to provide an inventory of property and debts as it is done for other types of matrimonial regimes.

(ii)Article 8 : Dissolution of the community of property regime and its effects.

Creditors have the right to claim payment for debts contracted by spouses before the dissolution of the marriage of the community of property regime. Where dissolution of the community of property regime occurs while there are some creditors who do not know about it, such creditors may opt to claim the total payment from either spouse or both.

Gaps identified : In cases of dissolution due to divorce under community of property regime, claiming the total payment to either or both spouses is ambiguous. The dissolution was raised by citizens in the district dissemination of law, that one spouse may have contracted debts which were not jointly contracted that may be a burden to the other spouse.

Proposed amendment : Creditors coming after dissolution should claim from both spouses the total payment for debts jointly contracted before dissolution otherwise the payment is claimed from the spouse who contracted the debt.

Enforcement measure : Spouses in the divorce process should be required to disclose all of their property items, including debts contracted by spouses as agreed by both of them, to the court. Additionally, they will present how they will be paid if creditors come after divorce and dissolution are declared.

On the law nº27/2016 of 08/07/2016,the above provisions were frequently cited for amendment or effective enforcement so as to serve their purpose of ensuring peaceful and prosperous families. Such were cited by Pro- Femme/ Twese Hamwe, through consultations with key stakeholders at local and national levels.

Pro- Femmes/Twese Hamwe will continue advocacy for actions to improve the law formulation and implementation. Pro-Femmes/TweseHamweis confident that the above findings will serve as a basis for law revision by MINIJUST and Rwanda Law Reform Commission for possible amendments or complementary instructions in regards tothe enforcement of the law by MIGEPROF and MINALOC to local entities.