The Star (Nairobi)

20 March 2014

Kenya: Lenku Given the Green Light to Arrest Barasa

INTERIOR Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku is now at liberty to present his application to be allowed to enforce a warrant of arrest against journalist Walter Barasa.

Justice Richard Mwongo yesterday vacated an earlier order stopping Lenku from going on with the extradition proceedings against Barasa after his lawyer Kibe Mungai failed to appear in court.

The judge had in January dismissed the journalist's application seeking to block his arrest and surrender to the International Criminal Court to face charges of witness tampering paving way for the minister to institute his application.

However, Mwongo halted the proceedings to enable Mungai file an appeal against his decision. Mungai was scheduled to argue his application yesterday but he sent a representative to seek an adjournment because he was held up before a three-judge bench in Embu.

"It is unacceptable for the counsel to seek to take advantage of the extension today. I cannot see a reason why I should grant an adjournment today and I hereby discharge the order of stay," Mwongo said.

Barasa is wanted by the ICC to face charges of witnesses tampering in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang'.

His arrest warrant was issued last August by ICC judge Cuno Tarfusser of pre-trial chamber II following a request by prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Mwongo said the ICC proceedings in respect with the warrant of arrest against Barasa are special and do not entitle him to an opportunity to be heard prior to his arrest.

"I find that this is not the right forum to vent the issues relating to appropriateness of the issuance of the arrest warrant. The petitioner's allegations are therefore premature at this stage," he said.

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