Court rebuffs Vincent Murekezi


The Lilongwe Principal Magistrate’s Court yesterday rejected Rwandan Genocide suspect, Vincent Murekezi’s plea to have his extradition process dismissed based on what his lawyers said is the magistrate’s court’s incompetence to handle such a matter and State’s use of wrong provisions in the process.

One of the lawyers for Murekezi, Wapota Kita, told Principal Resident Magistrate, Patrick Chirwa, that the magistrate is not competent enough to handle the matter in question and should just discharge Murekezi.

“It is our application that you discharge these proceedings as you are not competent to handle the matters that are not within your jurisdiction. We may have asked you to refer the matter to the High Court but doing that would be justifying the faulty provisions that these proceedings are premised on and by doing that you will contravene your legal powers because there are no legal powers that you have to do so. The best thing is to discharge him,” Kita said.


Chirwa, however, told the defence that its assertion that the magistrate court is not competent is not true and does not have any legal basis.

Kita also said having read the State’s skeletal arguments, it is apparent that the court proceedings are based on Rwandan criminal proceedings and London Scheme for Extradition, which Commonwealth countries use, but are not applying in the current situation.

Kita said the state has failed to use the country’s Extradition Act in its skeletal arguments because it knows that Rwanda is not a designated country under the Act.


He also said genocide is not an offence under Extradition Act and it is due to that reason that the State decided to use the London Scheme and Rwandan criminal proceedings.

Kita said there is nothing that the State has surrendered to the court to show that there is an agreement between Malawi and Rwanda as Rwandan treaty with other countries on genocide was not entered between the two countries.

“Most of the provisions used have been pushed,” Kita said.

But Chirwa said it is wrong for the defence lawyers to raise their objections and ask for discharge basing on arguments that they have rightly named “skeletal” and it is proper for them to wait for the substantive hearing.

Counsel for the State, Steven Kayuni, had already asked the court to dismiss the defence’s preliminary objections as they do not add any value in the matter.

Kayuni said the Court Procedures and Evidence Code empowers the magistrate’s court to determine issues such as the proceedings.

He then said the proceedings are not a trial but rather a process of extraditing Murekezi to his home country

“The State has powers within the London Scheme for Extradition arrangement to arrest and necessitate the extradition of the same. That is why he was brought before the court and told the reasons for his arrest,” Kayuni said.

Towards the end of yesterday’s hearing, Kita said the Extradition Act indicates that a minister is supposed to authorise the extradition process and without the minister’s order the court cannot proceed to which Chirwa responded by ordering the State to furnish the court with the minister’s order within five days.

The hearing will be in court again on Wednesday next week but in the meantime Murekezi has gone back to Maula Prison where he has been on remand since December 8 2016.

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