Rwanda: Murekezi Faces Genocide Charges After His Extradition From Malawi

Photo: New Times
Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, Vincent Murekezi was received by officials from Rwanda Correctional Service Authority.
28 January 2019

Vincent Murekezi, a Genocide fugitive who has avoided capture for the past 15 years, was on Monday morning brought to Rwanda and handed to Rwanda Correction Service (RCS) by their Malawian counterparts.

Murekezi, who was serving a jail sentence on fraud-related charges in Malawi, was deported to Rwanda to complete his sentence courtesy of a prisoner exchange agreement signed between RCS and Malawi Prisons.

Following this development, National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) issued a statement saying that due process will be followed to ensure he is also held accountable for the crime of Genocide he stands accused.

“NPPA will ensure that, the rest of criminal procedures with regard to the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity of which Murekezi Vincent stands accused, follow the due process of law,” prosecution said in a tweet.

Murekezi was arrested in December 2016 following an international arrest warrant issued by Rwandan prosecution to their Malawian counterparts.

However, midway through the trial to determine his extradition, another case arose concerning crimes he committed on Malawian soil including using fraudulent means to evade tax.

He was in March 2017 sentenced to five years for these crimes.

Murekezi, who is known to have been an influential businessman in Malawi was accused of having used bribes to evade capture over the tax evasion charges, and had also been previously been sought over forging documents to acquire a Malawian citizenship.

Prosecutor General Jean Bosco Mutangana welcomed the development in a tweet Monday morning.

“I would like to thank authorities in Malawi notably the Ministry of Justice, Prisons Services and the DPPs Office for the cooperation extended to have Murekezi Vincent sent to Rwanda to serve his sentence,” he said.

Prosecution, through the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit issued an international arrest warrant for Murekezi after they established that he had found safe haven in the southern African country.

Rwanda and Malawi signed an extradition treaty in February 2017.

Murekezi is accused of participating in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi mainly in Tumba in the current Huye District and was tried in absentia and handed a life sentence by a Gacaca court.

He is however under the Rwandan laws allowed to seek retrial in the ordinary courts.

His arrest in December 2016 was preceded by an uproar from members of the civil society in the southern African country, where it was alleged that Murekezi was peddling influence to evade arrest.

Previous reports had pinned him on forging Rwandan documents that he presented during his naturalisation process in Malawi.

Reports from Malawi had earlier said that during his process to acquire a Malawian nationality by naturalisation, he had lied to authorities there, purporting to have been born in Tanzania.

He is among the at least dozen indicted Genocide fugitives said to be living in Malawi.

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