16 February 2017

Rwanda: Govt to Seek Fresh Extradition of Genocide Fugitive in Malawi

Photo: Watipaso Mzungu/New Times
Vincent Murekezi (in handcuffs) waiting for remand documents before being driven off to Maula Prison (file photo).

Rwanda will make a fresh application to Malawi for the extradition of a genocide fugitive after a judge in Lilongwe declined to give orders for his deportation.

Rwanda's Prosecutor General Bosco Mutangana told The EastAfrican that Kigali would not relent in its pursuit to have Vincent Murekezi sent back home to serve his sentence.

A Malawi court on Tuesday dismissed an extradition case against Mr Murekezi saying Lilongwe and Kigali did not have a treaty that would allow for his transfer.

"Genocide is an international crime and may not require an extradition treaty to have justice served. International law says you must extradite or try genocide suspects. We are now in negotiations with our Malawian counterparts to file a fresh application to the court," Mr Mutangana said.

Mr Mutangana added that Rwanda was also working to enter into an extradition treaty with Malawi.

Mr Murekezi was tried for genocide in absentia and sentenced to life in prison by a Gacaca court in Rwanda. Having fled to Malawi in 2003 - where he became a businessman - he was last December arrested by Malawian authorities on corruption-related offences.

He was however not charged for genocide in Lilongwe and Rwanda has unsuccessfully sought his extradition since then.

In the ruling on Tuesday, Justice Patrick Chilunga Chirwa noted that the prosecution "did not take necessary steps to facilitate this extradition process," but added that once the process is legalised, the case could be returned to court.

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