The Malawi Government is not yet free from the jaws of the International Criminal Court (ICC) whose demand to arrest Sudan President Omar Al Bashir was defied last year.
Following reports that Bashir will be visiting Malawi during the African Union summit this July, the Court has repeated its call for Malawi to apprehend and surrender him to them.
In an e-mail response on last week, ICC's Public Affairs Assistant Michelle Johnston said Malawi still has a legal obligation to implement arrest warrants for President Bashir.
"The warrants of arrest against Mr Al Bashir have been issued for allegations of very serious crimes (crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide) and the request for cooperation and surrender of the suspect has been notified to the States Parties to the Rome Statute, including Malawi, who have a legal obligation to implement these warrants of arrest.
"The [International Criminal] Court continues to request the cooperation of the States in that regard," said Public Affairs Assistant Michelle Johnston in an e-mail response on Wednesday.
Johnston said since the ICC informed the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties of the non-cooperation of Malawi with regard to the first visit, it is expecting these bodies to enforce Malawi's cooperation.
"It is now for them [ United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties] to decide what would be the appropriate measures to be implemented in order to ensure full cooperation with the ICC," Johnson said.
But media reports have quoted Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika saying the decision on whether or not to arrest Bashir during the AU summit need to be discussed at cabinet level.
Mutharika, however, indicated that it was not Malawi which sent out invitations but the AU Secretariat.
But reacting to this, Youth Association for Democracy (Yadema) chairperson Wapona Kita has petitioned Mutharika on the need for the country to arrest Bashir when he comes.
"We wish to remind the Malawi Government that the obligation to arrest and surrender Al Bashir to the ICC is not conditional on who invites him to Malawi but his mere presence in Malawi.
"It is not the entity inviting but the State Party that will be answerable to the ICC," reads Kita's letter in part, copied to all embassies in the country.
Kita has further warned that defying again the ICC call would have dire consequences as countries, including the western ones, would continue reviewing their economic and diplomatic relations with Malawi.
In its observation sent to the ICC in November last year, Malawi backed its failure to arrest Bashir saying that could have been going against sitting presidents' Immunities and Privileges Act of Malawi.
The ICC, however, quashed this observation saying international law creates an exception to Head of State immunity when international courts seek a Head of State's arrest for the commission of international crimes.
The failure to arrest Bashir attracted international condemnation, with United States Congress member Frank Wolf asking President Barrack Obama to sanction Malawi for defying the order.
The US has since withheld its US$350 meant to revamp the country's energy sector through its Millennium Challenge Corporation, citing failure to arrest Bashir as one of the reasons.
The ICC issued two arrest warrants for President Bashir to answer five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts of genocide.