The magistrate’s court in Lilongwe Wednesday failed to sit for the Rwandan Genocide suspect Vincent Murekezi extradition process hearing as Malawi Police Service vehicle and officers that were supposed to escort Murekezi from Maula Prison to court were attending President Peter Mutharika’s tree planting season launch.
Presiding Magistrate, Patrick Chirwa, set down yesterday for continued hearing of extradition process after rejecting the defence lawyers’ prayer to have the case dismissed based on what they described as the state’s use of wrong provisions in the process and the magistrate’s court less powers to handle such cases.
The lawyers for both the state and Murekezi waited from the scheduled 9 o’clock up to some minutes before 11 o’clock in the morning before meeting Magistrate Chirwa in his chambers for the way forward.
Speaking after meeting Chirwa and state counsel, Steven Kayuni, just said there was a communication breakdown between them and police on the movements from prison to the court and provision of security around court premises.
Kayuni said the court has set Friday as the day when the extradition process will be in court.
One of lawyers for Murekezi, Gift Katundu, said they just received communication of logistical challenges.
“It is the duty of the state to bring the suspect to the court and I may not be in a position to say what those logistical challenges are,” Katundu said.
Last week, the court ordered the state to provide an authority to proceed with the extradition process from the minister after defence lawyer, Wapona Kita, said it was legally impossible to proceed with the process without ministerial order and, according to Kayuni, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia has provided the authority.
Katundu confirmed to have received a copy of the minister’s authority to proceed and what remains is for the process hearing to start.
Murekezi, who holds two Malawian passports with different names of Murekezi and Banda plus a citizenship, is wanted in his home country for his suspected connection to the 1994 genocide which left an over 800,000 people dead.
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