Malawi Police Service (MPS) have agreed to work with Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and Women Lawyers Association (WLA) in fresh investigations into rape and sexual assault on women from Mbwatalika and Mpingu in Lilongwe.
Speaking yesterday in Lilongwe when MPS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MHRC and WLA, Inspector General George Kainja said the first investigation was compromised because police missed a crucial tool in the process.
He said: “Parade identification is one of the most important police procedures. Since we know the officers who were deployed to the operation area, it is important to pinpoint the actual suspects.
“In the fresh investigation, we will employ identification parade for the victims or the witness to identify.”
Said Kainja: “The MRHC report was just a recommendation. It was not an investigation that could stand in court. As police, we need to investigate thoroughly using all procedures in the book.
“We have new investigators on the ground and we want to clear the bad image we been associated with in relation to this case.”
On her part, MHRC executive secretary Habiba Osman said despite the compensation the victims got, those responsible [perpetrators] should face justice.
She said: “The whole essence of conducting fresh investigations is to address the question of methodology used then.
“It was clear that the people who did the first investigation did not follow international human rights standards. We hope the second investigation with the methodology that has been adopted now will follow human rights standards and will be credible.”
In her remarks, lawyer Hilda Soko from WLA said payment for the violation of human rights does not exonerate those who were responsible for rape and sexual assault.
“The civil case was addressing the issue of failure to conduct prompt and fair and professional investigation. It was that failure that had led to violation of the rights of women.
“Where a complainant is unable to access the criminal justice system their rights are automatically violated. The compensation given to women and girls of Mbwatalika and Mpingu addressed the violation of those specific human rights.”
The MoU is an agreement that the three institutions will work together in the fresh investigation expected to be concluded in two months.