1 February 2014

Kenya: Now Bring Barasa to Me - Bensouda

Nairobi — The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has welcomed the ruling allowing the extraction of journalist Walter Barasa to The Hague.

Barasa is supposed to face charges for alleged bribery of witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass FM broadcaster Joshua arap Sang.

"We expect that the Government of Kenya will take all necessary steps to move the matter forward so that Walter Barasa can be arrested and surrendered to the ICC without undue delay to face charges for attempted obstruction of justice," Bensouda's office said.

Barasa on Friday lost a bid seeking to block an arrest warrant issued against him by the ICC 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 said 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.

Meanwhile the Attorney General is expected in The Hague in two weeks time to respond to a request by Bensouda to have all witnesses who have declined to testify in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang summoned.

Muigai is expected to travel to ICC on Valentine's Day after being directed to do so by the court to clarify the principles of Kenyan law while at the same time giving an update on the current status of cooperation between Kenya and the Prosecutor's requests.

The Attorney General will be required The Office of the Prosecutor has been expressing concern with the rate at which witnesses have dropped out of the case. At times the court has had to adjourn proceedings due to lack of witnesses.

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