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Kenya high court issues arrest warrant for journalist wanted by ICC

[JURIST] The High Court of Kenya [official website] issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for journalist Walter Barasa, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for interfering with witnesses in the trial of Deputy President William Ruto [ICC materials, PDF; JURIST news archive]. Barasa is accused [BBC report] of attempting to bribe prosecution witnesses to try and persuade them to withdraw testimony against Ruto. In March the High Court ruled [JURIST report] that Barasa could be extradited to the ICC. Barasa has denied the bribery claims and has been continually challenging [JURIST report] the arrest warrant [text] issued by the ICC last year. Ruto is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in inciting the violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan election [JURIST news archive], which led to more than 1,100 deaths. Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC case materials; JURIST news archive] is set to face similar charges stemming from the same election violence.

The ICC's trial of Kenyatta and Ruto has been rife with controversy and has drawn heavy criticism from Kenya. In April the ICC granted the prosecution's request to subpoena eight Kenyan witnesses [JURIST report] in the trial of Ruto. The trial of President Kenyatta was adjourned [JURIST report] in April with a new commencement date for the trial set for October 7. In February the Kenyan Attorney General informed the ICC that Kenya would not release Kenyatta's financial records [JURIST report] without a court order, as required by Kenyan law. Also in February ICC prosecutors requested [JURIST report] an indefinite delay in the trial, claiming that the Kenyan government was interfering with the proceedings. Earlier that month, the African Union called for African countries to "speak with one voice" against the trials [JURIST report] of sitting heads of state of Kenya in the ICC. In January the Trial Chamber of the ICC made an oral ruling [JURIST report] that Ruto may be conditionally excused from attending his trial on a continuous basis.

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