NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) says if Kenya establishes a local process to investigate former journalist Walter 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 State or the person himself may challenge admissibility, but in challenging admissibility the suspect or the State has to establish that indeed a process has been initiated, which is genuine to investigate the same person for the same crimes for which the person is facing the charges under the ICC,” she explained.
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.
According to Kamara, it does not matter what mechanism Kenya will use but as long as it proves there is a genuine judicial process to deal with same charges that Barasa is accused of by the ICC.
“Whatever the system that will be setup, it is not for the ICC to dictate or direct, the most important is that the process has to be genuine,” she explained.
Barasa is wanted by the ICC for alleged interference with prosecution witnesses.
A warrant for his arrest was unsealed on October, 2, 2013 in which ICC Judge Cuno Tarfusser asked the Kenyan Government to arrest Barasa and hand him over to the ICC.
However Attorney General Githu Muigai said procedurally, the matter had to be taken to the Kenyan courts to determine if Barasa should be handed over to ICC or not.
The matter is still before the High Court.
On Wednesday, the lawyer of the former journalist wrote to the ICC asking for full disclosure of the circumstances surrounding the arrest warrant.
He has alleged that ICC was planning to take him into custody through the back door.
However, according to Kamara, the ICC does not have police of its own and will therefore depend on Kenyan police to arrest him and take him to The Hague.
Barasa is alleged to have bribed witnesses with between Sh1mn and Sh1.5mn for them to withdraw their evidence in the case against Deputy President William Ruto.
Among the witnesses who were allegedly offered bribes is P0536 – who was the first to testify against Ruto and his co accused Joshua arap Sang.