17 October 2013

Kenya: 'ICC Tried to Trap Barasa'

JOURNALIST Walter Barasa's lawyer has complained that ICC officials attempted to lure him out of Kenya so that they could easily arrest him.

Nick Kaufman made the claims in a request filed before ICC judges seeking disclosure of all attempts to effect the August 2 arrest warrant against Barasa for alleged witness tampering.

He says Office of the Prosecutor investigators maintained contact with Barasa long after the arrest warrant was issued on August 2 and attempted to persuade him to leave Kenya.

"The Single Judge did not give the Prosecution a mandate to entrap the suspect by hoodwinking him into traveling to a jurisdiction where his arrest could be effected by prior arrangement," Kaufman said.

Kaufman said the arrest warrant ruling only asked the ICC Registrar to liaise with the Chief Prosecutor "for the purpose of following the movements of the Suspect."

Kaufman said ICC officials also attempted to entice Barasa to implicate Deputy President William Ruto in the witness tampering."The suspect has reason to believe that the OTP attempted to lure him out of Kenya on the false pretext of a threat to his personal security with intent to have him arrested in a third country," he said.

Barasa is accused of interfering with prosecution witnesses waiting in Uganda for the Ruto case. It is not known if the ICC was attempting to lure Barasa to Uganda whose President Museveni has been leading the African Union charge against the ICC.

Kaufman said Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda admitted attempting to arrest Baraza in another country during a press conference on October 2. Barasa met ICC officials in Kenya on September 15, more than a month after the arrest warrant was issued.

He claimed that the OTP wanted to circumvent the arduous procedure of effecting ICC warrants contained in the International Crimes Act. He said they would have committed the offences of abduction and extortion if they had succeeded.

"It could also be seen as an attempt to breach State sovereignty given that the strategy was designed to deprive the Suspect, as a Kenyan citizen, of the statutory safeguards which Kenyan law would normally afford him when an application is made to surrender him to another jurisdiction,"he argued. Judge Cuno Tarfusser ordered Bensouda to respond to Kaufman's application by October 21.

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