On 6 October 2023, the Republic of Rwanda deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention of 5 October 1961, also known as the Apostille Convention, which abolishes the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.
Rwanda became the 126th State in the world to formally accede to the Convention. It will enter into legal force for Rwanda on 5 June 2024. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda has been tentatively designated as the competent authority responsible for organising the apostille.
Apostille is an international standardised form of filling in information about the legality of a document for presentation in the territory of states and countries that recognise this form of legalisation. From 5 June 2024, apostille-stamped official documents issued in Rwanda will be accepted without additional legalisation in all countries that are members of the Convention. Also Rwanda will be obliged to recognise documents issued on their territory.
At the handover ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Depositary of the Conventions, Rwanda was represented by H.E. Mr Olivier Jean Patrick Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Mr Jean Hugues Mukama, First Secretary of the Embassy of Rwanda. The Depositary was represented by Mr Jules van Eijndhoven, Head of Treaties and Mr Rieks Boekholt, Acting Deputy Head of Treaties.
Immediately after accession to the Apostille Convention, Rwanda also applied for membership in The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). After fulfilling all protocol requirements, including the official transmission of a communication on the matter from the Dutch government to the HCCH, the Secretary General of the Conference Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, launched the voting procedure for Rwanda's admission. All members of the international association will be able to vote. They will have six months to do so. If during this time the majority of the Conference members support the initiative, Rwanda will receive a formal offer of accession.