ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asks govt to arrest, hand over Barasa over claims of witness bribery

By Standard Digital Reporter

Kenya: The International Criminal Court has requested the Kenyan government to immediately arrest Walter Barasa and hand him over to the court for allegedly tampering with witnesses.

The Hague-based court issued a warrant of arrest against Barasa on Wednesday after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda accused him of interfering with prosecution witnesses.

“There is evidence to suggest that Walter Barasa tried to bribe someone he thought was a prosecution witness in the case against Deputy President William Ruto”, Bensouda said.

The prosecution added that they have conducted a comprehensive investigation on the basis of documented allegations of witness interference.

“The evidence collected so far indicates that there is a network of people who are trying to sabotage the case against Mr Ruto et al. by interfering with Prosecution 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”, read part of the statement sent to newsrooms.

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

If found guilty, Barasa faces up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.

Bensouda said the arrest warrant acts as a stern warning to others who may be involved in obstructing the course of justice through intimidating, harassing, bribing or attempting to bribe ICC witnesses.

The warrant was issued by the Single Judge of the Pre-Trial Chamber after he determined, on the basis of the evidence, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Barasa corruptly influenced or attempted to influence a person he thought was a Prosecution witness.

Trials against Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused former radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang are currently under way at the ICC.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy Ruto and Joshua Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity following chaos that erupted after the disputed 2007/2008 election.

Uhuru’s trial is set to in begin November.