Malawi ready for second bid to extradite Genocide suspect Murekezi

Malawian state attorneys say they are waiting for the Lilongwe Magistrate Court to set the trial date so that they can reintroduce the extradition case against Vincent Munyakazi, a man wanted for his role in the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Murekezi leaving court in Lilongwe late last year.
Murekezi leaving court in Lilongwe late last year.

Malawian state attorneys say they are waiting for the Lilongwe Magistrate Court to set the trial date so that they can reintroduce the extradition case against Vincent Munyakazi, a man wanted for his role in the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The same court had earlier ruled not to proceed with the extradition case on grounds that at the time, there was no existing framework for the extradition of criminals between Rwanda and Malawi.

 

The two countries last month signed an extradition treaty, which paved way for Murekezi to be returned to Rwanda to face the Genocide crimes he stands accused, if court deems so.

 

On February 14 2017, Principal Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa dismissed the extradition case of Murekezi citing non-existence of relevant and bilateral treaties as some of barriers to allow Malawi exchange offenders with Rwanda.

 

He said extradition is an extraditable offence in Malawi but the fact that Rwanda is not a designated country for extradition ties the hands of the court to allow extradition of Murekezi.

The magistrate however gave the state liberty to regularize the process and take the matter to court for a possible extradition process.

When contacted on the development, senior assistant chief state advocate Steven Kayuni said all requirements for taking the matter back to court have now been met.

“We have since made a fresh application for this extradition. We are just waiting for the court to allocate a date for the case,” he said.

Asked on why it has taken long, Kayuni said that the process was not simple as they had been working on administrative issues and can proceed now that they are done.

“There were so many offices involved and there were a couple of institutions to be involved including the home affairs ministry and ministry of justice among others.”

At the moment, Murekezi is serving his 5 year sentence on corruption at Maula prison in a case he lost from Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

This according to Kayuni can also give a chance to the state to use the newly signed exchange of prisoners’ treaty on Murekezi with help from prison authorities in the case that extradition fails.

However defence lawyer Wapona Kita has said is not aware of the development and could not comment further.

Murekezi was tried in absentia and convicted of genocide by a Gacaca court which convicted him of killing Tutsi in the present day Huye District and if extradited, he will be entitled to seek retrial.

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