The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), has welcomed government of Malawi and Rwanda has finally signed the long awaited Extradition Treaty which will pave way for the extradition of suspected Rwandan genocide convict Vincent Murekezi who sought refuge in Malawi since 2003.
Recently, the Lilongwe Principal Resident Magistrate Court dismissed the extradition case against Murekezi.
Principal Resident Magistrate (PRM) Patrick Chilunga Chirwa cited a number of irregularities in the manner in which the State presented the case in court and failure by the State to satisfy the requirements for extradition to countries which have no bilateral treaties with Malawi.
HRCC blamed the prosecuting authority and Ministry of Justice & Constitution Affairs as well as the Attorney General’s office for failure to advise the Police on relevant legal provisions to use in pursing this matter.
The watchdog now welcomes the Extradition Treary guaranteeing the repatriation of Rwandese Nationals to their country on their role in the Genocide.
“While as an entrepreneur, Mr. Mulekezi may have been contributing to the growth of our economy through taxes (assuming he was compliant), HRCC would not like to be party to benefiting from ‘Blood Money!’ It is a known fact that Millions of Rwandese lost their lives in the Genocide and for Malawi to harbor a person tried and convicted in the Rwandese courts on such acts is a great deceit to the people of Rwanda, and International Community, whose instruments we ratified and domesticated seeking to promote the sanctity of life by guaranteeing right to life and condemnations of acts genocide on people of various nations.
“Our continued hosting of Mulekezi and believably other Rwanda suspects, means we are aiding and abating criminals thereby sending a message to the world that Malawi is a safe heaven for criminals i.e. genocide actors,” HRCC Boss Robert Mkwezalamba said.
The signing agreement between Kigali and Lilongwe comes just days after the two Capitals successfully concluded the first ever Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation which was held in Lilongwe.
The signing ceremony took place in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation headquarters at Capital Hill in Lilongwe where Malawi was represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila who was accompanied by Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu and Rwanda was represented by Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye.
Speaking during the ceremony Kasaila said the treaties signed 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.
“We do not take for granted the effort taken by Rwanda, to send a delegation to travel to Malawi just a few days after the Joint Permanent Commission was concluded. This shows the extent to which the government of Rwanda is committed to the cooperation with Malawi,” said Kasaila.
Rwandan Justice Minister Busingye, when asked if this treaty will pave way for Murekezi’s extradition, said this will be up to the prosecution authorities to take up the matter.
“The signing of these treaties has created an enabling environment which pave way for them to take advantage of the agreements in them treaty for it has removed the impediments that were there in extraditing people in both countries,’’ said Busingye.
Rwanda has been persuading their Malawian counterparts to send back home Rwandan nationals who were allegedly involved in the 1994 genocide who have been hiding in the country but failed to make any breakthrough because of the corrupt system of government officials who have been giving citizenship, passports and work permits in exchange of kickbacks.
The signing of the treaty by the two countries has been touted as a major breakthrough in having Rwandan citizens who were hiding in the country to be extradited and answer charges back home for the heinous crimes they committed.
Apart from the Extradition Treaty, the two capitals have also signed The Agreement on the Transfer of Convicted Persons between the two countries and the Memorandum of
Understanding between Malawi Prison Service and Rwanda Correctional Service on the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders, Human Resource Development Transfer of Sentenced of Persons of Sports and Culture.
Malawi is believed to be hosting about 5,000 Rwandan nationals, 36 of which are believed to have actively been involved in the genocide and some of whom are based at Dzaleka Refugee Camp while many others have been integrated into the Malawian society and are running businesses.
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 Malawi since 2003. He initially applied for temporary residence permit after securing police clearance.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :