The Military High Court was established by the Rwanda Constitution of 2003, in its articles 143 and 153, replacing the former Military Court that was established by the then Fundamental Law .
As provided by the Constitution, the Military High Court’s organization, jurisdiction and functioning were later on determined by the Organic Law no 07/2004 of 25/04/2004 determining the Organization, Functioning and Jurisdiction of Courts as modified and completed to date.
The mission of the Military High Court is to offer preventive knowledge of the law and efficient delivery of justice to the military public and associated people so as to enhance discipline in the Rwanda Defence Force.
A court characterized by speedy delivery of justice, enhanced professionalism of its members, enabled by recent technologies and whose main motivation is imparting knowledge of the law to its clients rather than punishing crime.
The Military High Court has the power of trying in the first instance all criminal offences constituting threat to national security and murder committed by military personnel [irrespective of the rank] and their accomplices.
The Military High Court also heals on appeal level all cases tried by the Military Tribunal for which an appeal was made.
In trying cases submitted to the Military Tribunal, judges follow the general Code of Criminal Procedure as defined by the Law no 13/2004 of 17/05/2004 as modified and completed to date. The code based on the following main principles: publicity of hearings, fairness, impartiality, right to defence of the accused, cross examination, equality of litigants before the law, legality in collecting and producing evidences, and avoiding any undue delay in rendering justice.
Judgments rendered by the Military High Court might be appealed in the Supreme Court.
Since its establishment in 2004, the Military High Court has achieved the following:
• Cases brought forward by competent prosecution have been tried in a way that discipline in the Defence Force personnel has been maintained.
• More qualified personnel with at least eleven Judges and court registrars appropriately trained.