NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 16 – Eldoret-based activist Walter Barasa, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly bribing prosecution witnesses, has now taken his fight to the Hague court.
Through lawyer Nicholas Kaufman, Barasa has written to the ICC demanding full disclosure of the circumstances surrounding his arrest warrant saying that the court was trying to take him into custody through the back door.
In the application papers, he noted that his request to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) for full disclosure had been turned down, with the office telling him that he would only get it if he surrendered or was arrested by the court.
“The Prosecution is not inclined to discuss disclosure prior to your client’s arrest and surrender to the court, whether voluntary or not. However once this occurs, the Prosecution is prepared to sit down with you to address any immediate concerns you may have at such time,” Kaufman quoted the OTP as saying.
He further claimed that the OTP had illegally attempted to recruit Barasa as a witness against Deputy President William Ruto by threatening him with arrest.
Kaufman told Pre-Trial Chamber II that the OTP had told his client that he would be arrested if he declined to give evidence that Ruto tampered
“In a nutshell, the OTP investigator attempted to extort collaboration from the suspect by informing him that he could either testify to witness tampering at the behest of Deputy President Ruto or be arrested himself,” wrote Barasa’s counsel.
The former journalist, who is still enjoying State security, also says that the OTP tried to lure him to another country so that he could be arrested despite there being judicial proceedings in Kenya regarding the OTP request to have him extradited.
Judge Cuno Tarfusser issued the sealed warrant against Barasa on August 2 but it was made public on October 2.
“The single judge did not however give the Prosecution a mandate to entrap the suspect by hoodwinking him into travelling to a jurisdiction where his arrest could be effected by prior arrangement,” argued Kaufman.
The 41-year-old is being sought by the ICC for allegedly bribing two prosecution witnesses by up to Sh1.5 million, and attempting to bribe a third witness so that they could recant their testimony against Ruto.
He has already denied the charges and is currently pursuing legal proceedings at the Kenyan High Court to prevent the OTP request for his extradition from being implemented.