The recently established Rwanda Investigation Bureau yesterday took over the criminal investigation function from Rwanda National Police, at an event that also saw the launch of the new organ.
The newly-established agency will strengthen Rwanda’s justice system in order to effectively respond to the challenge of modern crimes, among others, according to Justice Minister Johnston Busingye.
RIB whose director general, Jeanot Ruhunga and deputy director general Isabella Kalihangabo, were sworn in last week, will work as an autonomous body.
It has the powers to arrest and detain suspects in criminal cases; cordon off and restrict access to an area or set up a roadblock for the purposes of maintaining security, and preventing and detecting crimes, according to officials.
463 police officers formerly working under CID plus other officers from different departments were also transferred to RIB—and have ceased to be police officers with immediate effect.
These, according to Kalihangabo, will now be identified as investigators.
Speaking at the launch of the agency, Busingye said RIB is a “new step” in Rwanda’s continued effort to ensure rule of law, justice and safety of the citizens. The event was held at Police Headquarters in Kacyiru.
“Today is a big day in the history of our country, especially in terms of rule of law. It is a journey that started in 1990 to change our country for good. The reforms will ease work for all parties in the justice sector and improve professionalism and efficiency,” Busingye said.
With RIB, the minister says, Rwanda is ready to counter contemporary and emerging crimes such as, drug and human trafficking, cybercrimes, terrorism economic and cross-border crimes that need high-tech security personnel and sophisticated investigations.
“However, this (RIB) doesn’t take away the responsibility of every stakeholder in ensuring safety, law and order,” he said.
After handing over CID to RIB, Inspector General of Police Emmanuel Gasana commended the officers who were transferred to the new investigation unit – calling for continued professionalism.
He also revealed that CID investigated about 20,000 dossiers every year.
“There are a number of emerging crimes which need professional and committed officers. In security regime it is said that any space unoccupied can be occupied by the enemy… and we cannot take chances. RIB will improve our capacity in addressing such crimes,” Gasana said.
On his part, Ruhunga commended the police for the efforts invested in building the judicial police that has contributed to effective justice system, saying that it has laid a firm foundation on which his agency will base on to build a strong investigation bureau.
“Our job is to foster human rights and rule of law. RIB is a new body but its staff are not new to their responsibilities because they have been serving in relatively similar capacities. We will base on that firm foundation to build more professionalism and efficiency in investigating crimes,” Ruhunga said.
He urged the police officers transferred to RIB to ensure timely response to crimes, and that justice is not delayed.
“The Government is committed to give us all the support needed to succeed. But without discipline we will not achieve our objectives. In this kind of work, discipline is key; because without it resources are useless.” Ruhunga added.
The event saw the unveiling of the institution’s symbols like the logo and other tools like the website and social media handles.