Court clears way for plea to arrest Walter Barasa

What you need to know:

  • In January, the High Court ruled that Mr Barasa should go to The Hague to face charges of interfering with witnesses
  • The 41-year-old journalist cum-activist has been accused by the ICC of bribing three prosecution witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Joshua arap Sang

A plea for a warrant of arrest can now be lodged in court against journalist Walter Barasa on allegations of interfering with witnesses at the International Criminal Court.

The High Court on Wednesday quashed orders staying Cabinet Secretary of Interior and National Coordination Joseph ole Lenku from filing an application for Mr Barasa’s arrest citing tactical delays by Mr Barasa’s lawyer.

In January, the court ruled that Mr Barasa should go to The Hague to face charges of interfering with witnesses on the premise that the court had no jurisdiction to stop The Hague court from having him extradited.

WAS PREMATURE

Mr Justice Richard Mwongo said Mr Barasa’s application was premature because the High Court was not the right forum to determine whether the warrant was properly issued.

Mr Barasa contested the decision and applied to appeal the judgment. He was given 14 days to appeal and got a stay for the orders of execution of the judgment pending hearing and determination.

The 41-year-old journalist cum-activist has been accused by the ICC of bribing three prosecution witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Joshua arap Sang with amounts ranging from Sh1 million to Sh1.5 million.

However his lawyer, Mr Kibe Mungai, who is at the Court of Appeal in Kerugoya representing impeached Embu Governor Martin Wambora, was absent. He prayed for adjournment of the matter and that the orders stopping the arrest and extradition of Mr Barasa be extended.

Mr Wilfred Nderitu, the witness lawyer at the ICC, opposed the application, saying Mr Mungai had not given enough reasons why he could not be in court on Wednesday.

He asked the court to quash the order of stay barring the arrest of the former journalist as it appeared a “technical delay tactic.”

“It is not acceptable for the learned counsel to seek to take further advantage of the orders issued on behalf of his client because he knew the matter was coming up for hearing,”  Justice Mwongo said.

He said Mr Mungai did not write a formal letter explaining why he could not be in court although he knew he was representing Mr Wambora in Kerugoya.

“Mr Mungai did not give an adequate reason why this court should further extend the orders sought,” Justice Mwongo said.

He then thus quashed the orders and asked the lawyers to get a hearing date at the judiciary registry.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.