The Rwandan Prosecution Authority is still optimistic of netting genocide convict Vincent Murekezi and other Rwandan nationals suspected to have committed various crimes back in their country.
The Principal Resident Magistrate’s Court last week dismissed the extradition case against Murekezi, citing inexistence of the bilateral treaty between Malawi and Rwanda and irregularities in the manner the State presented the case in court.
Rwanda is not a designated country for extradition. And the need for an extradition treaty between Malawi and Rwanda has recently been exposed following the ongoing legal controversy surrounding Murekezi who was naturalised in Malawi in circumstances currently under contention in the court.
While government nods to his extradition, Principal Resident Magistrate Patrick Chilunga Chirwa withheld the order on an account that Rwanda is not on the list of countries with which Malawi can legally swap prisoners or citizens in conflict with the law.
Chirwa emphasised that although genocide is a relevant offense for extradition, “but my hands are tied on the matter because Rwanda is not a designated country for extradition”.
He said the only way for Malawi to transfer offenders to such a nation is through the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security entering into arrangements with countries that are in bilateral treaties with countries where genocide crimes were committed.
Chirwa dismissed the extradition case, but with a piece of advice to Malawi Government to regularise the process and start the case all over again.
In his reaction to the development, National Prosecutor and spokesperson on National Public Prosecution Authority of Rwanda, Faustin Nkusi, seemed not to be bothered by the decision of the court.
He said: “We are reading what the newspapers have published, but we cannot comment on what we are reading in newspapers. Rwanda made an extradition request through diplomatic channels (official request); we are waiting for an official communication from Malawi Government regarding our request on Murekezi Vincent.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila emphasised when he met a delegation from Rwanda for the signing of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPCC) last week that “criminals need not find refuge in any other country”.
“We therefore need to have these agreements to assist us get rid of criminals who come here as refugees when in fact they are offenders in their countries. And that poses security threat even to our country,” said Kasaila.
And speaking at the first session of the JPCC, which took place in Lilongwe from Wednesday to Friday last week, Permanent Secretary for the Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Claude Nikobisanzwe,said Rwanda is looking forward to strengthening its bilateral relations with Malawi, which will also see the two countries sending prisoners or citizens suspected to have offended the law back to their countries.