, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – Attorney General Githu Muigai now says the government is ready to hand over former journalist Walter Barasa to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if a Kenyan court finds sufficient evidence to warrant his extradition.
In an interview with KTN’s Jeff Koinange, Muigai said once the local court makes its determination, the government will act accordingly.
“Kenya is a government with a rule of law. If there is a court order issued by the High Court of Kenya, the Government of the Republic of Kenya will obey the court order,” he asserted.
The ICC has issued a warrant for Barasa’s arrest for alleged witness bribery which was made public last month.
Muigai said if Barasa appeals, the government will have to wait for the appeal’s decision to determine if Barasa will be handed over to ICC or not.
According to Muigai, the Office of the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) has established a team to handle Barasa’s case and once the court issues a ruling, the office will give direction on the steps that the government will take.
“The issue of this warrant will be handled by the DPP… it’s in the nature of a criminal process. I have had discussions with him. He has assembled a team for that purpose. I don’t want to second guess his judgement. If the High Court says there are insufficient grounds for this warrant to be enforced, the DPP will make a judgement and we in the republic will be bound by that judgement,” he explained.
He further promised that Kenya will also act on any other arrest warrants issued but procedurally.
Muigai made it clear that Kenya will not violate national laws as provided for under the constitution in a bid to fulfil other laws.
“We do not have to have a situation where the Constitution of Kenya is violated in a desire to do good some place elsewhere. There is no international law that requires a sovereign country to violate its own law in order to comply with international law. Both are important, we must work with them together,” he said.
In reference to series of facilitation of visits and meetings by the ICC in Kenya, Muigai complained that it was absurd for the prosecution to accuse Kenya of non-cooperation.
He complained that it was difficult for Kenya to cooperate with the court when it requests for documents or information which the government does not have.
“Ask me for things in accordance with the procedure known to the Rome Statute, and procedure known to the International Crimes act of Kenya. And ask me for material that is the possession of the government, if you have no legal basis and if the material in the possession of the government, we are unable to assist,” he said.
According to the AG, it was regrettable that the prosecution still continues to make public statements outside the court accusing Kenya of non-cooperation.
He said it did not augur well because Kenya has done what is required of it by the ICC. “The utterances are totally inaccurate; totally unfounded, I have done more since I went to the State Law Office two years ago.”
Even though he was evasive if President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend the ICC trial on November 12, he said the Kenyan suspects have always cooperated and will continue doing so.
“…as far as I know he intends to cooperate with the court,” the AG stated.
He said Kenyatta however has a legal team that will give him advice regarding his trial.