, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – The hearing of the case by activist Walter Barasa seeking to block an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant of arrest will now begin next month.
Justice Richard Mwongo has directed all parties in the case to file affidavits and submissions before the hearing of the case set for November 11.
Mwongo also extended interim orders for Barasa to be accorded State protection until the matter is heard and determined.
“The first respondent as the State party shall for good order and administrative convenience file with this court by way of a miscellaneous application under the present file reference a formal notification and request through a complaint or application to institute the proceedings therein. The said notification and requests shall be substantial under Section 89 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” he said.
In his ruling, he directed that the matters raised by the petitioner be heard concurrently.
“Parties shall in addition and on or before October 28, 2013 file written skeletal submissions together with lists of and authorities intended to be relied upon in respect of the hearing of the petition. Such submissions shall be limited to not more than five pages in twelve point font size and have 1.5 spacing,” he stated.
He further enjoined Reverend John Mbugua as a third applicant in the case after receiving no objections.
“In order to expedite the hearing of this litigation, the petition shall be heard without the necessity of first hearing the first and second applications. Every party wishing to respond to the petition shall file and serve their responses there on or before the 28th October 2013. Due to the urgency indicated by all parties and considering the nature of the matters hearing, the petition shall be heard on 29th October 2013, at 9.30 am to 12 noon,” he indicated.
The date of the hearing was later changed to November 11 for the convenience of all parties.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku had filed a request to have Barasa arrested and handed over to the ICC to stand trial for allegedly interfering with witnesses in the case facing Deputy President William Ruto.
Barasa in turn filed a case to block his arrest and extradition, and instead urged the court to hold any intended trial here in Kenya.
He had argued that if he is extradited, his fundamental rights would be violated and urged the court to stay his extradition proceedings and commence his trial in Kenya to enable him clear his name.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has accused him of bribing or attempting to bribe witnesses testifying in the case against Ruto.
Attorney General Githu Muigai has announced that the government is ready to arrest and send Barasa to The Hague if Kenyan courts order so.
Muigai however said that even though Kenya has to cooperate with the ICC, it has to follow due process.
He pointed out that if a Kenya court finds sufficient evidence that any suspects should be handed over to the court, Kenya will comply.
The ICC had also said that if Kenya establishes a local process to investigate Barasa for the same crimes levelled against him by the court, it will not intervene.
ICC Outreach Coordinator Maria Kamara said Kenya can challenge admissibility if it proves there is a genuine process investigating Barasa for the same crimes.
The Rome Statute is guided by the principle of complementarity which states that ICC is the court of last resort and only intervenes where States have failed to establish a local mechanism to deal with crimes committed.