, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – The High Court has extended orders granting activist Walter Barasa State security until Friday when directions will be issued on how his ICC extradition case will proceed.
After hearing submissions from all parties, Principal Judge Richard Mwongo also allowed International Criminal Court (ICC) Victims’ Legal Representative Wilfred Nderitu and activist Okiya Omtatah to be enjoined in the case.
During Tuesday morning’s submissions, lawyer Kibe Mungai argued that Barasa was entitled to a decision either positive or negative from the High Court.
“I urge the court to stay his extradition proceedings and commence his trial in Kenya to enable him clear his name. If he is extradited, his fundamental rights would be violated,” he said.
He explained that a lot of harm had been done to Barasa as a result of the ICC arrest warrant and that was why he had moved to court to fight for his rights.
“The issue is not when the alleged crime was committed; it is in the issue of Barasa’s nationality. We should first be heard in the petition because of Sections 172 and 173. We do not have a case number. These are criminal proceedings and under our laws, there should be a case number,” he said.
On the other hand, Nderitu contended that the decision of the High Court should be guided by provisions under the Rome Statute.
“According to our Constitution, we are bound to uphold the Rome Statute. Some of the offences are said to have taken place out of the borders in Kampala Uganda and the investigations were conducted by the prosecutor of the ICC,” he stated.
He pointed out that under the law; cooperation with the ICC is not prohibited since it had made its reasons known in the unsealed warrant of arrest presented before the court.
“It was submitted that cooperation with the ICC is prohibited. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ICC made its reasons known in the unsealed warrant of arrest presented before the court,” he said.
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 was ready to arrest and send Barasa to The Hague if Kenyan courts orders 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.