Rwanda National Police

Rwanda’s transition to democracy following the genocide in 1994 resulted in the promulgation of a new constitution in 2003. Chapter One in Title VII of the new Constitution provides for the establishment of a national police force under the control of the Commissioner General which is civilian-based, and whose vision is to make people living in Rwanda ‘feel safe, involved and reassured’.

In terms of Article 170 of the Constitution, the Rwanda National Police is responsible for serving the people on the basis of the following principles:

  • safeguarding the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the law;
  • harmonious collaboration between the National Police and the community which it serves;
  • the accountability of the National Police to the community; and
  • informing the population on how the Police is fulfilling its mission.

In addition, the National Police has the following functions:

  • ensuring compliance with the law;
  • maintenance of internal public order;
  • ensuring security of person and property;
  • providing urgent humanitarian assistance in case of disasters, calamities and accidents;
  • ensuring respect for the law relating to air space, borders and waters;
  • combating terrorism; and
  • participating in international peace keeping missions, humanitarian assistance and training.

Oversight Mechanisms

The Police Act of 2000 provides for the establishment of a Police Council comprised of members appointed by the Minister of Police, which is responsible for conducting oversight of the National Police, and reports directly to the Minister. Specifically, the functions of the Police Council are to:

  • ensure efficient organization, administration and functioning of the National Police;
  • formulate and establish standards of recruitment and training;
  • make recommendations on the general policy of promotion;
  • exercise general disciplinary control over members;
  • find solutions to problems of members; and
  • deal with complaints by members of the public.

With respect to external oversight mechanisms, the Office of the Auditor General is responsible for auditing government agencies, including the police, to ensure conformity with the law and protocols relating to financial management. In addition, the Rwanda Human Rights Commission serves as an independent monitor of human rights across the country, which is mandated to investigate human rights violations committed by the state and for filing complaints involving abuse in the courts. Further, the Office of the Ombudsman has potential to serve as a mechanism of independent oversight in that it is responsible for preventing corruption and injustice and preventing offenses in the administration of public offices.

  1. Rwanda National Police website,
  2. Constitution of Rwanda, Article 170
  3. Constitution of Rwanda, Article 171
Country Category Year Title URL
Rwanda Laws and Regulations 2000 Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda Source (PDF)
Rwanda Human Rights Report 2015/2016 Amnesty International Country Report Rwanda 2015/2016 Source
Rwanda General 2016 Interpol Country Profile Rwanda Source
Rwanda General 2016 Rwanda National Police website Source
Rwanda Human Rights Report 2007 Human Rights Watch: Police Killings Tarnish Rule of Law Source