(Various interests groups, including international human rights organisations, want the police chief, Minister of Home Affairs and Mapuya to answer charges of genocide over the killing of people with albinism).
Judge Mbadwa: This court has been asked to convene at this time because of the crisis we have at hand. Not even the budget session of Parliament and all its attendant noise could have stopped the tribunal from convening to address the situation that is getting out of hand.
The Rehabilitation Centre for Human Rights executive director Timoteo Mabingu, who will speak on behalf of the interest groups, sought the indulgence of the court on continued abductions and killings of people with albinism. This court wants to give you an opportunity Mr Mabingu to explain why the police chief, the Minister of Home Affairs and Mapuya should answer charges of genocide.
Mabingu: My Lord, there is a systematic killing of people with albinism in Malawi and the abductions and killings are not abating despite authorities’ incessant assurances that they will stop this barbaric butchering of innocent souls, if I may be allowed. My Lord, why are the crimes still being perpetuated at the watch of the police? Since the first killings were reported all what the police have done is to participate in marches against the killings and nothing more. What more hope do you have when all law enforcer can do is present petitions against the killings when they should have been investigating the killings and arresting perpetrators? Those who have been arrested so far have largely through tip-offs and public initiatives as the police sat Phwii in their offices.
For failing to act, we believe the police are accessory to genocide just as their overall authority, the Minister of Home Affairs. The minister, too, has been snoring on the job and Mapuya is in our view not helping matters because police officers are busy following him up in droves everywhere he conducts rallies instead of being on a trail of killers and abductors. My Lord, we are wasting our precious human resource by over-allocating security to Mapuya when they should have been in villages and communities investigating crime and sensitising the public to the dangers of such heinous acts. My Lord, we want nothing but action. We are tired of meaningless statements that promise the moon. The police chief, his minister and Mapuya have failed to act and by doing so they have abetted this genocide. Perhaps they can tell this court why they are failing to do the obvious; end these crimes? Thank you My Lord.
Mbadwa: As an independent organ of the Executive, the Police Service is, as guided by the Constitution, supposed to provide for protection of public safety and rights of persons in Malawi and looking at the increasing cases of murders of people with albinism, the police have failed miserably in their job. They are not there to conduct escorts of VVIPs and man roads only. Since in exercising their duty, the police are subject to the direction of the court and are bound by the orders of court, this tribunal has found the performance of the police chief and that of his team inadequate in stopping crimes against humanity such as killing of people with albinism. This court agrees that by failing to act the police are abetting genocide. But we give the police one week to redeem themselves to correct the situation, failing which they will be referred to ICC.
The Constitution also stipulates that the political responsibility of the Police Service is vested in a minister, who unfortunately has been conspicuous in her absence in ensuring that order is restored. By conducting rallies daily, Mapuya is encouraging unequal distribution of security personnel as more resources and officers are being allocated to him. As commander-in-chief, he should also have stopped this matter long time ago but he has not. This court also gives Mapuya and his minister to walk the talk and end these crimes lest they answer genocide crimes. n