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Government petitioned over genocide suspect

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Pressure continues to mount on government to arrest and extradite Rwandan genocide suspect, Vincent Murekezi, as some people under the banner of Concerned Citizens have given it a 48- hour ultimatum to act or face what they call civil disobedience.

Over the course of 100 days from April 6 to July 16,1994, an estimated 800,000 to one million Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were killed in the Rwandan genocide and a recent report has estimated the number to be close to two million.

The citizens, who delivered their petition to Speaker of Parliament through the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Security yesterday, also demanded the immediate suspension, investigation and prosecution of all officers who were involved in the issuance of two Malawian passports and citizenship to Murekezi.

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According to the petitioners, an international warrant of arrest number RPGR 450/GEN/MJD/RE from the Rwanda’s National Public Prosecution Authority, the Gacaca Court of Tumba Sector in that country’s Southern Province allegedly convicted Murekezi of war crimes where he was allegedly categorised as first-category offender and was sentenced to life imprisonment with special provisions.

The petitioners also allege that Murekezi applied for a gun licence at the Malawi National Police Headquarters and his application was not approved but currently he has a gun with a licence which, according to them, is shocking and disheartening news.

Murekezi is currently holding two Malawian passports bearing different surnames of Banda and Murekezi.

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In August 2011, he was issued a Malawian Passport (MA 078171) under the name Vincent Banda before acquiring another passport (MA 606888) under the name Vincent Murekezi born in Kigali in March this year.

If extradited to Rwanda, the law allows Murekezi, who was allegedly sentenced on January 21 2009, to appeal and have his case revised and re-tried since the judgement was passed in absentia.

“It is our extreme conviction that true and genuine Malawians shall stand with us in making sure that this Rwandan genocide convict gets arrested and extradited within 48 hours. If not, the assumption shall be that the convict is being shielded by other influential politicians who might be benefiting in one way or the other but we shall get them and expose them.

“The continued delay to arrest and extradite Mr. Vincent Murekezi will not only damage the reputation of our country at the international level but also that of the President of the Republic of Malawi His Excellency Professor Peter Mutharika and a mockery to the citizens of our nation,” the petition reads.

In September 2009, Rwanda’s former Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, requested the Malawi Government to arrest and extradite Murekezi, who was a businessman in Butare but now lives in Lilongwe.

Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Security, Olipa Muyaba, who received the petition, said the committee has already summoned Secretary for Home Affairs and Internal Security and Secretary for Foreign Affairs to appear before the committee on Wednesday next week and explain how Murekezi found himself in the country.

“We were supposed to meet them as early as possible but they have other commitments that have delayed the meeting. As a committee, we are equally concerned and we are also interested in the matter,” Muyaba said.

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