The High Court in Lilongwe on Wednesday dismissed an application by the State to discharge the defence’s request for a judicial review in a case involving Rwandan fugitive Vincent Murekezi.
Murekezi is wanted in his country on suspicion that he took part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda for which he was tried in absentia and sentenced to life in prison. He fled to Malawi in 2003.
Rwanda’s application to have Murekezi extradited was initially dismissed by Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa who also noted that the State was free to make a fresh extradition application once the process was regularised.
Following the ruling, Malawi and Rwanda signed an extradition treaty, effectively meaning that Murekezi could be extradited to his home country since the initial bottleneck the absence of an extradition pact between the two countries had been cleared.
However, through lawyers Wapona Kita and Gift Katundu, Murekezi opposed the application of the retrospective treaty and subsequently applied for a judicial review which the State wanted discharged.
But in her ruling on Wednesday, High Court judge Ruth Chinangwa, argues that the matter is suitable for judicial review.
Said the judge: “The court, thus, finds that this matter is suitable for judicial review in that the court would have to determine the applicable law for the extradition process and determine the applicable process of extradition as spelt out in the given law.”
In the application, where the State wanted the order for judicial review to be discharged, they argued that the decision sought to be reviewed is not amenable to judicial review and an abuse of court process.
However, in an interview, Katundu maintained that it was irregular for Malawi and Rwanda to sign an extradition agreement without the involvement of Parliament as is required by the Constitution.
Murekezi is currently serving a five-year jail term after he was convicted of corruption charges.