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Kenya court allows ICC extradition








Walter BarasaIf Walter Barasa is transferred to the ICC and found guilty he could face up to five years in jail


Kenya’s high court has ruled that a journalist wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague can be extradited.

Walter Barasa is suspected of offering bribes to prosecution witnesses in the trial of Deputy President William Ruto.

Mr Barasa, who denies the allegations, had sought to challenge the arrest warrant issued by the ICC last year.

Mr Ruto’s trial is ongoing and he denies charges of being behind ethnic violence surrounding polls in 2007.

Some 1,200 people died and 600,000 were forced from their homes following the presidential election on 27 December 2007.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is also due to stand trial on similar charges – he too denies the allegations.

His trial, which was to start last month, has been delayed after a witness withdrew and another admitted giving false evidence.

Last year, charges were dropped against Kenya’s former civil service head Francis Muthaura, a co-accused of Mr Kenyatta, as some witnesses were too frightened to testify and another witness had recanted his testimony, the ICC said at the time.


Transfer

The High Court in the capital, Nairobi, made its ruling after Mr Barasa’s lawyer, who wanted an adjournment, failed to appear at the hearing on Wednesday.

Correspondents say it is now up to Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku to deal with the ICC’s request for Mr Barasa’s arrest and transfer to The Hague.

In court papers made public last October, ICC prosecutors said Mr Barasa had offered bribes amounting to $16,200 (£10,000).

If found guilty he could face up to five years in jail.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were on opposite sides in the 2007 election, but formed an alliance to win power in elections a year ago.

They said their alliance showed that Kenyans had resolved their differences, and the ICC was meddling in the country’s affairs by pressing ahead with their trials.

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