Malawi’s home affairs and internal security minister, Grace Chiumia, has issued an order that paves way for the hearing of extradition case against Rwandan Genocide convict, Vincent Murekezi.
The Wednesday order comes days after the Principal Magistrate court in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, ruled that the continuation of the extradition process would depend on the minister’s guidance.
According to laws governing the process in the country, a parliamentary act or an order from the minister is what would determine the direction of the process.
Extradition of Murekezi has been dragging due to different factors, including arguments by defence lawyers that their client is held in prison without being charged by the Malawian court.
He is wanted in Rwanda to serve his term following a successful trial and conviction on genocide.
The Rwandan government handed over all necessary documents needed for the extradition process to go on.
Despite the go ahead by the Malawian minister on the process, Murekezi could however not make it to court on Wednesday as earlier scheduled due to alleged logistical challenges.
His lawyer, Gift Katundu, blamed his client’s failure to get to court on the state.
“The question of failure of Murekezi to appear in court is about the state. We had prepared to proceed with the case but we were told there were logistical problems on transportation,” said Katundu.
He further said nothing else could be done but to adjourn the case to Friday, January 27.
State attorney, Steven Kayuni, confirmed the issue of logistical challenges, explaining that security detail for transporting Murekezi was lacking.
“For Murekezi to be transported from Maula Prison to the court, there has to be enough security at all stages,” added Kayuni.
Reports however indicated that most vehicles used for transporting inmates to court were being used at a state function, where the president was launching a national tree planting season in a nearby area in Lilongwe.
Murekezi was tried and convicted in absentia by a Gacaca court in Huye District for having masterminded the Genocide against the Tutsi in his native Tumba Sector.
The law in Rwanda allows him to seek retrial once extradited.
Murekezi was arrested in December last year in Lilongwe where he had reportedly amassed wealth as a businessman, having evaded capture for several years.
He acquired Malawian citizenship in 2003, after reportedly paying a hefty $5,000.