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Three Kenyans who are still on ICC radar

By Kamau Muthoni | April 6th 2016

Three Kenyans alleged to have interfered with witnesses meant to testify on 2007-2008 poll chaos at the International Criminal Court still risk being jailed for five years if found guilty.

The Hague-based court issued sealed arrest warrants on journalist Walter Barasa, lawyer Paul Gacheru and Phillip Bett. Barasa has been fighting his extradition since October 2, 2013.

Gacheru and Bett were arrested in July 10, 2015, after ICC prosecutor asked Trial Chamber II judges to have them arrested.

Journalist Walter Barasa. Him along with two other Kenyans are alleged to have interfered with witnesses meant to testify on 2007-2008 poll chaos at the International Criminal Court still risk being jailed for five years if found guilty. (PHOTO: FILE)

Trial Chamber II judges Cuno Tarfusser, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and Chang-ho Chung issued the warrants.

"Pre-Trial Chamber II, following a request of the Prosecutor, issues the present order reclassifying the warrant of arrest and other documents in the record of the case."

"The Chamber notes, on the basis of the information provided by the Prosecutor, that Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett were arrested on 30 July 2015 by the Kenyan police in Nairobi, Kenya, in execution of the court's request for arrest and surrender, and were presented before a judge of the High Court of Kenya in accordance with Kenyan law," the warrant read in part.

The office of the Prosecutor alleged that Barasa was criminally responsible as a direct perpetrator.

The journalist faced three counts of offences against the administration of justice by corruptly or attempting to corruptly influence three ICC witnesses.

Barasa was the first person globally to be charged with an offence against the administration of justice.

"The Prosecutor established reasonable grounds to believe that Walter Barasa is criminally responsible as direct perpetrator for the crime of corruptly influencing or, alternatively, attempting to corruptly influence witnesses by offering to pay them to withdraw as ICC prosecution witnesses in the context of the Kenyan cases before the ICC," the warrant on Barasa read.

Gicheru allegedly influenced six witnesses in the Ruto-Sang case.

The OTP submitted that there were believable ground that there existed, from April 2013, a criminal scheme designed to systematically approach and corruptly influence witnesses through bribery in exchange for their withdrawal as prosecution witnesses or recantation of prior statements to the prosecutor.

The trial court was told that evidence indicated that said scheme was run in a planned manner and with a clear distribution of tasks. Gicheru has been said to be the manager and coordinator of the scheme. He was alleged have made agreements with the targeted witnesses, organised the formalisation of their withdrawal and handled the payment.

Bett, also known as "Kipseng'erya", was reportedly the link between the witnesses and the lawyer. His role, according to Bensouda, was contacting the witnesses before bringing them to Gicheru.

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