On 9 December 2016, an Extraordinary Cabinet meeting chaired by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, has pardoned 62 girls and women imprisoned for abortions when they were under the age of 16. Justice Minister, Johnston Busingye, explained to the New Times that the President was exercising his constitutional right under the prerogative of mercy.
A 13-year-old girl’s request for access to legal abortion following rape, in a case filed by her mother, was denied by the first court who heard the request. The abortion was later allowed on appeal in a judgement handed down on 30 October 2015. This is what happened according to the official English translation of the proceedings, redacted to preserve her privacy:
In Rwanda, children born of women who were raped during the 1994 genocide are often rejected by the community and receive no specific aid. Their mothers, who are also stigmatized, are often their only support in what one of them calls “a life without life”.