NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – The government will on Monday commence formal extradition proceedings against activist Walter Barasa who is wanted in The Hague for allegedly trying to interfere with witnesses testifying in the ICC trial against Deputy President William Ruto.
A source at the Interior and National Coordination ministry has told Capital FM News that extradition proceedings documents drafted by Attorney General Githu Muigai are ready to table at a magistrate’s court on Monday morning.
“The AG’s office has been working closely with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the matter is ready to go to court now because that is the legal process required in this matter,” a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity not to compromise his position.
As per the provisions of Kenyan laws set out under the International Crimes Act 2010, the government is required to submit international warrants to the Magistrates court which makes a determination after examining the extradition documents and hearing from the accused.
“These procedures require the minister in charge of the Interior upon receipt of the formal warrant of arrest to present it to the Judiciary for enforcement,” Attorney General Githu Muigai said on Wednesday after receiving the warrant for Barasa’s arrest.
The warrant was issued in August but remained sealed until Wednesday last week when it was made public.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda last week said she expects authorities in Kenya to urgently arrest and send Barasa to The Hague to face relevant charges where he is accused of trying to influence three witnesses with up to Sh1.5 million.
“We expect the Kenyan government to arrest and surrender Barasa to ICC without delay. I believe that executing this warrant to Kenya is an opportunity to demonstrate its co-operation which they say they have given to the ICC. It is an opportune moment for them to arrest Barasa and surrender him to the court,” the prosecutor said at a press conference in The Hague.
The warrant was issued on August 2 by Judge Cuno Tarfusser who said the OTP had provided sufficient evidence on the matter.
“Allegedly, he has been and is still acting in furtherance of a criminal scheme devised by a circle of officials within the Kenyan administration.”
Barasa has however, denied the accusations that he attempted to bribe three witnesses only identified as P0536, P0336 and P0256 and has in turn accused the OTP of victimising him for his refusal to testify against the Deputy President.
“That man (an ICC investigator) was telling me to admit 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,” Barasa told Capital FM News.
Barasa has already instructed British-born lawyer Nick Kaufman to represent him on the matter.