July 18, 2024


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Rwanda Ranks 41st out of 142 in Rule of Law Index  

  • 2023 WJP Rule of Law Index® finds rule of law fell globally for 6th consecutive year    
  • Rwanda’s score increased, ranks 1st out of 34 regionally   
  • Human rights declined in 3 out of 4 countries since 2016 


WASHINGTON (25 October 2023) – The rule of law has once again eroded in a majority of countries this year, according to the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2023. 

This is the sixth consecutive Index marking global declines in the rule of law. This year alone, the rule of law declined in 59% of countries surveyed.  

However, Rwanda is among the minority of countries to see its Rule of Law Index score increase this year.  

Since 2016, rule of law has fallen in 78% of countries studied. The rule of law factor to decline most between 2016 and 2023 is Fundamental Rights—down in 77% of countries.  

Over the past seven years, Index scores for Constraints on Government Powers have fallen in 74% of countries. Around the world, legislatures, judiciaries, and civil society—including the media—have all lost ground on checking executive power, the Index shows. 

These and other authoritarian trends continued in 2023, but they are slowing, with fewer countries declining in 2022 and 2023 than in earlier years. 

Constraints on Government Powers fell in 56% of countries, compared to 58% in 2022 and 70% in 2021. Likewise, a smaller majority of countries saw overall rule of law declines in this year (59%) as compared to the last two (61% and 74%). 

A smaller majority of countries (56%) also experienced a decline in Fundamental Rights again this year, compared to 2022 (66%). 

On the other hand, declines in the functioning of justice systems are now expanding. 

Two thirds of countries (66%) saw their Index scores for Civil Justice fall this year, up from 61% of countries last year—including Rwanda. Greater justice delays and weaker enforcement are largely to blame. Meanwhile, scores for Criminal Justice also fell in slightly more countries this year (56%) than last year (55%). 

“The world remains gripped by a rule of law recession characterized by executive overreach, curtailing of human rights, and justice systems that are failing to meet people’s needs,” said WJP co-founder and president William H. Neukom. “People around the world are paying the price.” 

Rule of law in Rwanda  


Rwanda ranks 41st out of 142 countries worldwide. 


Regionally, Rwanda ranks 1st out of 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.* The region’s top performer is Rwanda (ranked 41st out of 142 globally), followed by Namibia and Mauritius. The three countries with the lowest scores in the region are Mauritania, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (138th globally).    


In the last year, 20 out of 34 countries declined in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of those 20 countries, 10 had also declined in the previous year.  


Among low income countries, Rwanda ranks 1st out of 18.**   


Global rankings and trends  


Globally, the top-ranked country in the 2023 WJP Rule of Law Index is Denmark, followed by Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Germany. The country with the lowest score is Venezuela, then Cambodia, Afghanistan, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   


Rwanda’s WJP Rule of Law Index rankings  


Overall score global rank: 41 / 142  

Overall score regional rank:  1 / 34  


Factor score rankings:  


Constraints on Government Powers  45/142 5/34 1/18 
Absence of Corruption  32/142 1/34 1/18 
Open Government  51/142 3/34 1/18 
Fundamental Rights  76/142 9/34 3/18 
Order and Security  27/142 1/34 1/18 
Regulatory Enforcement  41/142 2/34 1/18 
Civil Justice  31/142 1/34 1/18 
Criminal Justice  42/142 2/34 1/18 


(1 is best in WJP Rule of Law Index rankings)  


To see Rwanda’s performance across all 44 subfactors the Index measures, visit:  



Explore the full rankings and findings of the 2023 World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index at: www.worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index/.  


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