The High Court of Kenya [official website] ruled on Wednesday that journalist Walter Barasa can be extradited to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder]. Barasa is accused of using bribes to disrupt the prosecution in the ongoing crimes against humanity case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive]. The ICC reported in October that Barasa made bribes amounting to $16,000 to prosecution witnesses. Barasa denies these claims and has been continually challenging [JURIST report] the arrest warrant [text] issued by the ICC last year. It is reported [BBC report] that the High Court of Kenya ruled against Barasa due to his lawyer failing to appear for the hearing on Wednesday. If found guilty by the ICC, Barasa could receive a jail sentence of up to five years.
Ruto is facing trial for 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. This makes Ruto the first senior serving politician to appear in an international court. Also facing trial is Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC materials]. Ruto pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges against him in September. Earlier that month Kenya's National Assembly approved a motion [JURIST report] to leave the ICC in response to the trials of Ruto and Kenyatta, which were scheduled to begin in November. The ICC decided to continue with the trials despite the vote, having rejected[JURIST report] a request by Kenyan officials to move the trials to Kenya or Tanzania in July.