Kenyan journalist to fight ICC extradition

By James Shimanyula, Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Kenyan lawyer on Wednesday challenged a warrant issued by a Kenyan court for his arrest and extradition to the Hague-based International Criminal Court

A Kenyan lawyer on Wednesday challenged a warrant issued by a Kenyan court for his arrest and extradition to the Hague-based International Criminal Court

NAIROBI – A Kenyan lawyer on Wednesday challenged a warrant issued by a Kenyan court for his arrest and extradition to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

"The grounds [for the appeal] are very strong. I am optimistic; the grounds have good prospects of success," lawyer Kibe Mungai told Anadolu Agency outside the Appeal Court Registry, where he lodged his appeal for journalist Walter Barasa.

A Nairobi High Court on Wednesday issued a warrant for the arrest and extradition of Barasa to the ICC to answer charges that he had bribed witnesses in a criminal case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.

"I will fight legally in the Court of Appeal to ensure that my client is not extradited to the ICC,"Mungai said.

Under Kenyan law, Barasa can challenge the decision in Kenya's Court of Appeal. If he loses the appeal, he can lodge another appeal with Kenya's Supreme Court, the country's highest legal authority.

The lawyer contended that Barasa's rights as guaranteed by Kenya's constitution would be compromised by the High Court order that he be arrested and sent to the ICC.

Last October, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Barasa for allegedly tampering with witnesses who had been scheduled to testify against Ruto, who currently faces war crimes charges at The Hague.

Under Article 70 of the Rome Statute, the use of bribes or threats to influence witnesses to change or recant their testimony is a crime.

If found guilty, Barasa could face up to five years in prison, monetary penalties, or both.

Ruto, along with former Kenyan radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang, is currently on trial at The Hague, where he is accused of financing the armed militias that took part in 2007 violence in the Rift Valley in which more than 1100 people were killed.

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