Court allows judicial review in Murekezi extradition case

The High Court in Lilongwe has dismissed the application by the State to discharge request by Rwandan national Vincent Murekezi for a judicial review over extradition bid.

Murekezi: His request for judicial review granted -Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

The defence lawyers Wapona Kita and Gift Katundu applied for a judicial review at the High Court Lilongwe registry, thereby prohibiting further hearing of the case at the magistrate’s court unless the higher court rules otherwise.

This followed the State application to have Murekezi extradited after principal resident magistrate (PRM) Patrick Chilunga Chirwa dismissed the case on February 14 2017.

Among others, the PRM cited non-existence of relevant and bilateral treaties as some impediments to exchanging offenders between Malawi and Rwanda.

But on February 23 2017 the two governments signed the extradition treaty, thus, compelling the State to make a fresh application.

However, the State asked the court to vacate the injunction and take the matter back to the magistrate court for hearing of their new application.

In her determination, High Court judge Ruth Chinangwa said the matter is “suitable for judicial review.”

Said the judge: “The court, thus, finds that this matter is suitable for judicial review in that the court would have to determine the applicable law for the extradition process and determine the applicable process of extradition as spelt out in the given law.”

Police arrested Murekezi on December 8 2016 after a grouping calling itself Concerned Citizens piled pressure on government to have the Rwandese extradited over genocide case.

The suspected fugitive offender has lived in Malawi since 2003. He initially applied for temporary residence permit after securing police clearance.

Murekezi is currently serving a five-year jail term after he was convicted of corruption charges.

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