Two civil society groups have called on the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to join the gay case within seven days or face a lawsuit.
The Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), through their lawyers, wrote MHRC on February 21 this year, asking it to comply with a High Court notice of September 13 2013.
The High Court notice in Blantyre called on interested parties to join a case in which the court is set to review convictions of three men currently serving long prison terms, ranging from 10 to 14 years.
Cedep and CHRR, who joined the case, told MHRC that it is the commission’s mandate to protect and promote human rights in Malawi and that the organisation has to comply with the High Court notice.
Reads the letter in part: “You not only have the statutory mandate to join the case, but have a legal obligation with the notice from the High Court.
“You cannot be selective in the cases you may wish to join and pursue from human rights perspective…”
Yesterday, Cedep and CHRR lawyers said MHRC had not yet responded to the letter. The seven-day period expires this week.
But MHRC is on record as having said it is not mandatory for the commission to join any matter.
In the case, government wants the Chief Justice to certify the matter before it comes for the review as confirmation cases.
The Attorney General (AG) wants a January 20 ruling of the High Court judge Dunstain Mwaungulu that said the Chief Justice certification of the case was not mandatory reversed.
Mwaungulu made the ruling after the AG made an objection to the review of the case’s proceedings.
After he dismissed the AG’s application, Mwaungulu set a date in March for a seven-member-judge panel to start hearing the matter that touches on constitutionality.
But unsatisfied with the judge’s ruling, the AG went to the Supreme Court to challenge his decision.