David Ford said: “I wish to pay tribute to Nuala O’Loan. She took on an extremely difficult task and did an excellent job.
“She shone a light into the darkest times of the Troubles and ensured that all sides were heard.
“Her investigations were seen as fair and impartial by the vast majority of police officers as well as complainants.
“I want to commend the balance and credibility of her work. She faced much pressure from those who sought to hinder her, but she was courageous and was never knocked-off course by these elements.
“I also wish take this opportunity to wish Al Hutchinson well as he replaces Nuala O’Loan today.”