Arusha, May 15, 2014 (FH) – Kenya’s High Court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for journalist Walter Barasa, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for witness tampering in the crimes against humanity trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.

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According to Kenya’s Nation newspaper, Justice Richard Mwongo of the High Court said he was satisfied with the reasons given by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku for the arrest of Mr Barasa, and that there were no reasons to decline the ICC’s extradition request.

“From the information available, I am satisfied that Mr Barasa is present in Kenya and is the person being sought by the ICC,” The Nation quoted him as saying. “I have no reason to decline the same request and do hereby issue a warrant for his arrest.”

In September last year, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested the help of the Kenyan government in Barasa’s extradition, after she obtained an ICC arrest warrant. Bensouda has in the past complained of slow cooperation by the Kenyan government in matters pertaining to Kenyan cases before the ICC.

Barasa is accused of offering bribes to a witness in the trial of Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang to withdraw as a prosecution witness.

If Barasa is arrested, transferred to the ICC and found guilty, he could face up to five years in jail. 

The High Court decision came as the trial of Ruto and Sang resumed before the ICC in The Hague. The two men are charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged role in violence that swept Kenya after elections in late 2007.

President Uhuru Kenyatta faces similar charges and is scheduled to go on trial before the ICC in October this year.