Vincent Murekezi extradition nears
The Malawi government on Thursday signed an Extradition Treaty with Rwandan Government clearing the way for extradition of Rwandan Genocide suspect, Vincent Murekezi.
The signing of the documents comes days after the two countries concluded their first ever Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC).
Coincidentally, it is also days after the Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe dismissed an application from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to extradite Murekezi, on the basis that there is no treaty on extradition between the two countries.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Francis Kasaila and Rwanda’ Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye signed the agreement between the two countries in Lilongwe, on Thursday.
“The documents signed today will go a long way in resolving the difficulties which had been there between Malawi and Rwanda, in as far as matters of extradition of nationals who are in conflict with the law in the two countries are concerned,” Kasaila said.
Apart from the Extradition Treaty, the two countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the transfer of convicted persons between the two countries. The government of Malawi has signed the MoU through the Malawi Prisons Service. Rwanda has signed it through the Rwanda Correctional Service on the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders, Human Resources Development Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Sports and Culture.
Busingye said the signing of the documents is an indication of strong relations that exist between the two countries.
“Justice is one of the commodities our citizens need. We shall be doing more co-operations, more agreements. This will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges we have been facing,” Busingye said.
Meanwhile, Senior Assistant State Advocate, Steven Kayuni, who has been handling the Murekezi extradition case, has said the signing of the treaty will give the State the basis to extradite Murekezi.
“It was stated in court that in the absence of the treaty, he cannot be extradited. But this agreement will help. The issue of extradition is not an actual trial. There, the issue of retrospective application does not arise,” Kayuni said.
Meanwhile, some concerned citizens, have once again petitioned government to probe how Murekezi acquired Malawian citizenship.
In a petition that was privately submitted to Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia, on Tuesday, the concerned citizens also want the two Malawian Passports that are said to be in the name of Murekezi withdrawn immediately.
The citizens have gone further to ask how Murekezi successfully applied and was granted citizenship at a time he was answering corruption charges.
“There is also an urgent need to revisit our legal framework on citizenship as most foreigners are taking advantage of its weakness and as a result, Malawi has become a safe haven for criminals and fugitives to acquire the citizenship as a way of hiding from their countries after committing heinous crimes,” the petition reads.
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