The Rwandan government says it is prepared to send a team of witnesses to be cross-examined in an extradition case involving Rwandan national Vincent Murekezi.
Murekezi, who is battling extradition at the Principal Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe, on Friday successfully moved magistrate Patrick Chilunga Chirwa through his lawyer Wapona Kita to stop the State from proceeding to tender documentary evidence sourced from Rwandan prosecution authorities.
Senior chief State advocate Steven Kayuni told the court that the said documentary witnesses were critical to the case.
The defence lawyer objected, arguing it was erroneous for the State to present the documentary witness when the court had not made its ruling on whether genocide is an extraditable offence.
Kita further asked the State to tell the court if it would summon authors of the said documentary evidence to physically come to the court for cross-examination.
“The law allows the accused to cross-examine the witness. Is the State going to bring them [authors] for cross-examination?” he asked.
But in a telephone interview on Monday, Rwandan national prosecutor Faustian Nkusi said they are ready to send a team of prosecution witnesses to give Murekezi a chance to cross-examine them.
“Of course, we have not received a request from our counterparts in Malawi. But if there is need for us to send witnesses, we are very ready to do that. Otherwise, the documentary evidence we provided to the Malawi Government is very authentic. But we are ready to defend it in the Malawian court,” he said.
Reacting to the development, one of the defence lawyers, Gift Katundu, said they will be glad to have the Rwandan prosecution witnesses physically present in the court. He said this is what the law requires.
“We are not simply demanding the presence of witnesses for the sake of it. This is what the law requires for the fair dispensation of justice,” said Katundu.
Police arrested Murekezi on December 8 2016 after a grouping calling itself Concerned Citizens piled pressure on government to have the Rwandan extradited over a genocide case.
The suspected fugitive offender has lived in Malawi since 2003. He initially applied for temporary residence permit after securing police clearance. n