NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 – Former journalist Walter Barasa has now moved to the High Court to block his impending arrest and extradition to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Barasa, who is accused by the court of attempting to bribe three prosecution witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto, argues that the ICC has failed to furnish him with information on the basis of which the warrant was issued.
The 41-year old is alleged to have offered bribes of up to Sh1.5 million each to the witnesses among them P0536.
Through lawyer Kibe Mungai, Barasa wants to stop interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku from presenting the ICC warrant to any High Court judge.
“The petitioner will be seeking to stop the process of him being handed over to the ICC by the High Court of Kenya since his rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution will be violated,” Mungai argued on Tuesday.
Barasa also said that Lenku violated his rights when he publicly confirmed that he had forwarded the request of the ICC to the Judiciary for necessary action.
He added that the Cabinet Secretary had denied him information received from the ICC, which he is also entitled to in exercise of his right to protection of law, human dignity, liberty and fair trial enshrined in Articles 27, 28, 29 and 50 of the Kenyan Constitution.
When the warrant was unsealed on October 2, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda demanded for the immediate extradition of the former journalist saying Kenya must obey its international obligations.
“There is evidence to suggest that Walter Barasa tried to bribe someone he thought was a prosecution witness in the case against Mr Ruto. We expect Kenyan authorities to arrest Walter Barasa and hand him over to the court,” she said last week.
Kibe however argued that Barasa does not have to be extradited to the Dutch-based court to face the charges because Kenyan courts can also try him.
When news of the warrant came out, Barasa told Capital FM News that some ICC officials were trying to intimidate him and force him to provide false testimony against Ruto.
“That man was telling me to accept that I am being used by Ruto to get to witnesses but I told him that I have never even met the Deputy President. So I told him to go and issue that warrant of arrest,” he said on October 2.
Barasa also claimed that the same ICC officers threatened to arrest him and have him prosecuted if he refused to give in to their demands.
He is being charged with committing an offense against the administration of justice and if found guilty, risks being jailed for five years, fined or both.
Barasa’s application will be argued in court on Wednesday morning.