, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 18 – The hearing of activist Walter Barasa’s appeal challenging his extradition to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) failed to kick off on Thursday.
This was due to the failure of the respondents to file their responses in a timely manner; the office of the Inspector General of Police (IG), Attorney General (AG) and Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) not having filed responses as of Thursday morning.
“The DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) and Okiya Omtata filed theirs only yesterday,” Barasa’s lawyer Kibe Mungai told Capital FM News.
Following the adjournment the IG, AG and CS now have 14 days within which to file their responses before a new hearing date is set. Barasa filed the appeal after losing his High Court bid to block his arrest and extradition.
Justice Richard Mwongo adjudged that Barasa was best placed to challenge the warrant for his arrest at the Hague based court that issued it.
“Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku is now at liberty to commence these (extradition) proceedings against Barasa,” he ruled in January. Convinced by the DPP’s argument that the ICC Rules of Evidence and Procedure will guard against any prejudice Barasa alleges he’ll be subjected to should he be tried at the Hague-based court.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had sought a warrant for his arrest on the grounds that he interfered with her case by bribing her witnesses to withdraw their testimonies.
The 41-year-old journalist is accused of offering three witnesses between Sh1 million and Sh1.5 million between May 20 and July 21, 2013.
“Walter Barasa is criminally responsible as a direct perpetrator for the crime of corruptly influencing or, alternatively, attempting to corruptly influence witnesses by offering to pay them to withdraw as ICC Prosecution witnesses in the context of the Kenyan cases before the ICC,” ICC Judge Cuno Tarfusser stated on August 2 on granting the arrest order.
Barasa has however accused an ICC investigator of the Kenyan cases of harbouring a vendetta against him for refusing to falsely accuse Ruto of interfering with witnesses.
He has also argues that as a Kenyan citizen, Kenyan courts are fully capable of hearing the evidence the ICC purports to have against him and of making a determination.