NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – The fate of former journalist Walter Barasa now lies with the High Court, according to the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Joseph ole Lenku.
Lenku said that his ministry had already handed over the warrant of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court for Barasa’s arrest for alleged witness bribery.
“It is taking the legal process in line with the International Crimes Act,” he told journalists on Monday.
“We have forwarded the warrant of request of arrest to the High Court and that being a legal process, we want to have the court do its work,” he stated.
Barasa is wanted in The Hague for allegedly trying to bribe witnesses who are to testify before the ICC in the case against Deputy President William Ruto.
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.
A source at the Interior Ministry had on Sunday (October 6) revealed to Capital FM News that extradition proceedings documents drafted by Attorney General Githu Muigai were ready to be tabled at a magistrate’s court this week.
“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.
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 magistrate’s 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 had said after receiving the warrant for Barasa’s arrest.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says 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 million each.
“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 last week.
The warrant was issued on August 2 by Judge Cuno Tarfusser who said the OTP had provided sufficient evidence on the matter.
The warrant was however made public on October 2.