Is Kenyan journalist Barasa now off the hook?
Journalist Walter Barasa could be the biggest beneficiary of the Kenyan government’s decision to sever ties with the International Criminal Court.
President Uhuru Kenyatta hinted at the move on Saturday, during his speech at a thanksgiving-cum-victory rally for the six Kenyans who won their cases of crimes against humanity at the Hague based court.
“That chapter we have closed. We have our own courts, we will sort out our own issues. I don’t want to see any Kenyan going there again, we are not going back there… that chapter is closed,” President Kenyatta said.
The president’s statement particularly implies that Barasa, who has a two year old warrant of arrest to his name from ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, may actually walk away scot-free.
Barasa, who has been accused of tempering with witnesses by the Hague based court, has all this while maintained his innocence and resolve to go and clear his name at the ICC.
Others Kenyans being sought by Bensouda are lawyer Paul Gicheru and Phillip Kipkoech Bett.
“I trust the Kenyan authorities will fulfill their obligations under the Rome Statute to ensure the surrender of all three suspects to the custody of the court,” Bensouda said when issuing the arrest warrants earlier this month.
President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto, journalist Joshua arap Sang, former civil servant Ambassador Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and politician Henry Kosgei have all been acquitted at the ICC owing to a lack of sufficient evidence, although Bensouda maintains her case was made difficult by a lack of cooperation from the government.
The government has severally in the past attempted to rally the African Governments to withdraw from the ICC on the premise that the court was “mainly targeting Africans”.