What you need to know:
- The arrest warrant against Mr Barasa was issued on August 2, 2013 and made public two months later on October 2.
- On December 2010, six prominent Kenyans were named as suspects for playing a prominent role in the 2007/08 post-election violence.
A Kenyan who has spent years in court fighting a warrant to extradite him to The Hague has asked to be taken to the International Criminal Court.
It has been five years since the ICC indicted Mr Walter Osapiri Barasa for witness interference in the cases linked to the 2007/08 post-election violence.
Shunned by friends, jobless and facing threats, Mr Barasa told the Sunday Nation that he had seen it all since ICC unsealed the warrant of his arrest for reportedly tampering with witnesses in the cases of Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Joshua Sang.
And after countless trips to Nairobi for the hearing of his extradition case and consultations with his lawyers, Mr Barasa, in a poignant statement also sent to his lawyers has only one plea:
“Please, let me go to The Hague to clear my name.”
His lawyers are Mr Kibe Mungai, Mr Katwa Kigen and Mr Waweru Gatonye.
“Following tribulations I have faced since I was indicted by the ICC, I feel time has come for me to clear my name,” Mr Barasa said in his statement.
The 46-year-old relives the threats to his life, living as a pariah with no employer willing to offer him a job and which has made his three children to drop out of school and former friends who want nothing to do with him.
“I live in a psychological prison because some people think being seen with me or talking on phone will put their lives in danger. The five years have been hell,” he said.
“I live from hand to mouth. Sometimes I am tempted to sell the little property I have in order to put food on the table. My children are no longer in school.”
Mr Barasa’s statement however has not amused his lawyers.
“Neither I nor other advocates were aware of his wish to go public on the matter,” Mr Kigen told the Sunday Nation.
He however added that he and other lawyers have been in constant consultations with Mr Barasa about his desire to go to the Netherlands.
“I had a meeting with him barely 14 days ago. We have discussed with him about the option of surrendering and what he should expect,” Mr Kigen said.
The lawyer said Mr Barasa was given advice orally and in writing.
“Apart from advising him, we placed emphasis on the point that the question as to whether to surrender himself was absolutely his decision. The advocates can only advise him,” Mr Kigen added.
He said at the close of the consultation and advice given to him, “we left on the understanding that he would make up his mind and let us know”.
The arrest warrant against Mr Barasa, “a former intermediary for the Prosecutor in the context of the investigation on the situation in Kenya”, was issued on August 2, 2013 and made public two months later on October 2.
Mr Barasa is one of the three Kenyans whose warrants are still pending. Others are Mr Paul Gicheru and Mr Philip Kipkoech Bett.
While Mr Gicheru and Mr Bett got a reprieve in November last year when the High Court declined to issue an order to execute the ICC arrest warrants, Mr Barasa’s case has been different as the Court of Appeal on July 2017 lifted an order that had stopped police from arresting and handing him over to the ICC.
That is not only the difference. While Mr Gicheru is doing fairly well as a lawyer and chairman of the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board, Mr Barasa does not know where his next meal will come from.
Little is known about Mr Bett.
On the day the arrest warrant was made public, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there was evidence to suggest that Mr Barasa “tried to bribe someone he thought was a witness in the case against Mr Ruto”.
“The prosecution has conducted a comprehensive investigation on the basis of documented allegations of witness interference, which continues.
"The evidence collected so far indicates that there is a network of people trying to sabotage the case against Mr Ruto by interfering with witnesses.
"Walter Barasa, against whom compelling evidence has been collected, has been part of this network, and his actions fit into this wider scheme that the office continues to investigate,” Ms Bensouda said.
The crimes of witness tampering fall under Article 70 of the Rome Statute.
Whoever commits the crimes, if found guilty, faces up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.
The prosecution wants to charge Mr Barasa with three counts of corruptly, or attempting to corruptly influence witness P-0336 “by offering him between Sh1 million and Sh1.5 million in order to influence him to withdraw as a witness, committed during May 20 and July 21, 2013 and at or near Kampala, Uganda”, corruptly, or attempting to corruptly influence a female witness P-0536 by offering to pay her and her husband Sh1.4 million so that she could recant her testimony, committed between May 20 and July 25, 2013 at or near Kampala".
The third count relates to attempting to influence a female witness P-0256 by inducing her to meet witness P-0336 “for the purpose of offering her a bribe in an attempt to influence her to withdraw as a prosecution witness”.
On December 2010, six prominent Kenyans were named as suspects for playing a prominent role in the 2007/08 post-election violence.
They were Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Ruto, Mr Francis Muthaura, Mr Hussein Ali, Mr Henry Kosgey and Mr Sang.
Only the cases involving Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and Mr Sang proceeded to trial but the charges were dropped. Mr Barasa denies the claims by the ICC prosecutor.
“Life has been terrible and tough for me and my family for the last five years. I lost my job. Those who used to offer me consultancy work got scared,” he says.
“The allegations have had a wild public perception on my status. Consequently, I have instructed my lawyers...to consult and hasten the process of enabling me to present myself to the ICC at The Hague.”
He pleads with his defence team “to take note of my instructions” as he has explained to the lawyers in a separate confidential letter the reasons he wants to clear his name.
“I have gone through temptations and threats on my life and family. Notable ones being the one I recorded a statement alongside my lawyer Katwa Kigen at the DCI headquarters in 2016,” he ssys.
Another statement has also been recorded at the Eldoret DCI offices after some two unknown people threatened to kill him, Mr Barasa says
“In light of the above, the only way to redeem myself is to clear my name from ICC allegation, erase the wild perception from the public and start life afresh with the hope that God will grant me and my family more days,” he concludes.
Mr Kigen said Mr Barasa have been receiving threats, adding that he accompanied him to Eldoret when he was going to make a report.
He however maintained that any insinuations that someone was standing in Mr Barasa's way were untrue.
“I want to be on the record that we await Mr Barasa’s explicit instructions confirming that he wants to surrender,” Mr Kigen said.