NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31 – Journalist Walter Barasa will now be extradited to the International Criminal Court (ICC) after losing a bid seeking to block an arrest warrant issued against him last year.
While issuing the verdict, Justice Richard Mwongo said that Barasa’s application was premature because the High Court was not the right forum to determine whether or not the warrant was rightly issued or not.
The judge added that Barasa would only be able to get a chance to give his side of the story once he surrendered to the court or was given up to the court.
Barasa has however received 14 days of reprieve, within which he can appeal against the decision.
“The Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku is now at liberty to commence these proceedings against Barasa but that liberty has been stayed for 14 days pending appeal,” directed the judge.
Justice Mwongo also found that the only person with the power to challenge the application was Attorney General Githu Muigai and that the High Court had the jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The 41 year old journalist cum-activist is being sought by the ICC after he was accused of bribing three prosecution witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang with amounts ranging between Sh1 million and Sh1.5 million.
He has however denied the claims, accusing the ICC Prosecution of having a vendetta against him.
Last year in October, Barasa went as far as demanding for the prosecution of Senior Trial Attorney Cynthia Tai and investigator Paul Irani accusing them of abusing due process against the administration of justice.
“It is therefore ironical that I am the one being accused of having committed such offences when the evidence clearly points out that the said Ms Cynthia Tai and Paul Irani are potentially guilty of such crimes,” said Barasa in his affidavit at the time.
And in an interesting turn of events, one of the witnesses he is accused of bribing came out around the same time denouncing claims by the Prosecutor.
“I was surprised in early October 2013 by media reports indicating that the ICC had issued a warrant of arrest against the petitioner allegedly for interference with its witnesses including myself,” said the witness in an affidavit which was also lodged at the High Court in Nairobi.