President Paul Kagame on Monday appointed Col Jeannot Ruhunga as the Secretary General of the newly-formed Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), while Isabelle Kalihangabo was named Deputy Secretary General.
RIB will take over some of the technical and professional functions currently exercised by the Rwanda National Police, including judicial police functions; criminal and counter-terrorism investigation, crime intelligence, and economic and financial crimes investigation.
“The appointment of RIB leadership means that RIB is now in motion,” Justice Minister Johnston Busingye told The New Times yesterday.
“It is not complete yet, but this is the next step to everything that we have been doing; preparing the logistics and personnel and more to be announced at a later stage. But we have leadership in place now”.
RIB will operate as a specialised public organ but will be under the oversight of the Ministry of Justice, just like the Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Correctional Services and the National Public Prosecution Authority, among other institutions, according to Busingye.
“It is an independent organ; the ministry will do coordination and representation in Cabinet. The Ministry also Chairs the high council which comprises the other agencies (under Ministry of Justice),” he said.
By establishing the bureau, the Government seeks to focus, on top of ordinary crimes, cross-border, cyber, terror-related crimes and take them to the next professional level.
“It is about adding value in the aspects relating to the rule of law; professionalization crime detection, prevention, investigations and prosecution. That entails raising profiles of people who are working in the organ and a number of things,” he said.
Though the new investigation bureau marks the practical end to Police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and incorporating its mandate into RIB in line with laws governing security services, Busingye noted that the new organ will not collide but complement other agencies in the related field like the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI).
“There are complementarities because the same things that have been happening (in respective agencies) will continue to happen. It is the same way you would ask if there was a collision between CID and NISS and anybody else.
“If one gathers information which could lead to criminal prosecution then that information could be turned over to the agency doing criminal prosecution. If one has information leading to crime prevention, then that information will be turned over to the agency that does prevention. I don’t foresee any lack of boundaries,” Busingye explained.
“Police has developed massively since 2005 (when it was formed) and it continues to be more professional in ensuring law and order. But these changes can be termed as part of a journey we are on as a country. RIB is a much bigger portfolio but it includes CID,” he said.
The RIB Secretary-General and the deputy SG were appointed through a presidential order as stipulated by law.
The law establishing the agency requires that before assuming their duties, the SG and Deputy SG publicly take, before the President of the Republic, their oath of office.
About the appointees
Colonel Jeannot Kibezi Ruhunga, 54 is a senior officer of the Rwanda Defence Forces who has risen through ranks over the last twenty years. Until his appointment, as the Secretary-General of RIB, Ruhunga was serving in acting capacity as the head of J2 at RDF Headquarters (in charge of Military Intelligence and Security since 2016).
He previously served as the Chief Instructor at RDF Senior Command and Staff College (2015 to 2016), as a Judge at Rwanda Military Tribunal from 1999 to 2003, and Commissioner of Intelligence in the Rwanda National Police from 2005 to 2009.
He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (National University of Rwanda) and a Master of Arts in International Studies, University of Nairobi.
He is married with two children.
Isabelle Kalihangabo, 46, is an expert in law. Between 2000 and 2004, Kalihangabo worked in the Supreme Court, in the Department of the Gacaca Jurisdictions.
From 2004 to 2007, she was appointed judge to the High Court and in October 2007 through March 2014, Kalihangabo served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Legal Advisory Services in the Ministry of Justice.
Until her appointments yesterday, she was the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General in the Ministry of Justice, a position she held since March 2014.
She holds a Master of Laws Degree in International Business Law from Queen Mary University, London. She is married with two children.