President Paul Kagame on Monday evening appointed Col. Jeannot Ruhunga, a military officer, as the Secretary General of the much anticipated Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).
Col. Ruhunga will be deputized by Issabelle Kalingangabo, who was a Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Justice.
Col. Ruhunga, who was then head of crime intelligence in the Rwanda National Police, was approved by Cabinet on a Presidential decree transferring him to the Rwanda Defence Forces and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel mid December 2009.
The highly respected Colonel has been serving as head of the military intelligence department of the Rwanda Defense Forces (J2) from October 2016 after Rtd. Maj. Gen. Richard Rutatina.
As for Kalingangabo, she holds a Masters Degree in International Business Law from Queen Mary University of London in 2012 after her Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Rwanda in 1997.
Kalingangabo’s appointment follows a successful task of drafting the Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector Strategic Plan for the next seven years; up to 2024.
The appointments will relax the government’s race to meet the deadline of April for the transition of pre-trial judicial investigations activities from the Rwanda judicial Police to the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).
It is expected that a number of current judicial police officers with the required calibre and skills will be transferred to the Rwanda Investigation Bureau.
Understandably, that will be the immediate duty of the two appointees.
The RIB will operate under the Ministry of Justice.
It is expected to be upgraded by trained officers and others admitted to the Rwanda Law Enforcement Academy, currently under the Police training institution, which will also be operating under the Ministry of Justice.
Breaking up the country’s Police force comes as a solution to a long-held disputed conflict of interest in cases investigated and submitted to prosecution by the Police as a law enforcer.
There have been cases, for example, of officers investigated by their colleagues, thus questioning the independence of the institution’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which is now no more.
Justice Minister,Johnston Busingye, has been quoted by media saying that once these organs begin operating under his docket, “rendering justice will be sped up – unlike in previous situations where investigations and eventual prosecution had to go through various agencies.”
Notably though, the Police has been offloaded a burden of clearing its name over accusations that the institution was being politically used as a tool to silence government critics.