Malawi court rejects Murekezi on dismissing extradition to Rwanda: Lawyer Kita says Magistrate not competent to handle matter

Lilongwe Principal  Magistrate Court has given the State five days to produce an authorised consent from the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security to give a permission of process to the court to proceed hearing the extraction application of Rwandan genocide suspect Vincent Murekezi  after rejecting an application by his lawyer Wapona Kita to dismiss the matter.

Murekezi accompanied byfemale cops.–Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times
Murekezi arriving at the court from Maula Prison.- -Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times
Murekezi at the court.-Photo by Mphatso Nkhoma, Nyasa Times

Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa made the ruling after an objections by the defence lawyer for Murekezi, Wapona Kita who told the court that considering the Extradition Act of Malawi section 7 subsection 1, the matter can’t proceed for hearing without the consent of authority from the Minister as the section says any extradition process to start in court there shall be a consent of authority from the Minister to the court.

Kita made the objections soon after the court ruled against his earlier preliminary objections which he filed to the court asking it to dismiss the matter  for lacking the law which they will use to extradite the suspect and that the lower court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and has no competence to handle it.

“It is our application that you discharge these proceeding as you are not competent to handle the matters that are not within your jurisdiction,” said Kita, asking the court to refer the matter to High Court.

But in his ruling SRM Patrick Chirwa ruled that the court has the jurisdiction to hear the matter as the London scheme (Commonwealth) cited by the State didn’t specify as to which court of authority can hear the Extradition matter as it only said court of authority as such the lower court is also a court of authority

On the issue of law being used being inapplicable , Chirwa said that it’s premature to rule on that as the matter is yet to commence and said he might make a ruling on the law cited to extradite Murekezi after reaching that stage not now

“Your Worship, since you have ruled that this court has jurisdiction to hear on this matter, I want to bring to your attention Section 7 (1) of the Extradition Act of Malawi which talks of the need to have a consent of authority from the minister before the fugitive suspect shall proceed. In this matter the state has not brought to this court any consent of authority from the responsible minister which means we can’t proceed on this proceedings until the estate brought the consent of authority from the minister” Kita said

But Steve Kayuni, prosecuting,  while expressing his disappointment with the second objection, argued that the State has the consent of authority from the minister since his office of DPP works hands in hand with police meaning the minister have a go ahead of the matter and asked the court to dismiss the objection

Kita argued that the court can’t proceed without seeing the consent of authority from the minister, calling the continue remand in prison of Murekezi as illegal without a court warrant of arrest to support his arrest by Malawi government

In his ruling, SRM Chirwa ordered that the State should submit to the court the consent off authority from the minister in five days and adjourned the matter to 25 January, 2017 for the commencement of extradition trial if the minister issues the consent of authority authorizing courts to proceed to hear the matter before it.

Murekezi who has been on remand since December 8, 2016 remains detained at Maula Prison.

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Rosingbom Chibomba
Rosingbom Chibomba
7 years ago

The caption on our first picture is gender biased. Cops are cops whether male or female. Why specifying that Murekezi is being led by female cops as if there is something wrong with that arrangement? Are you trying to demean them or what? This kind of journalism has no place in the 21st century world.

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