Kenyan Journalist Suspected of Bribing International Criminal Court Witnesses

Journalist accused of bribing witness in ICC trial of Kenyan Deputy President.

Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he has been excused from his crimes against humanities trial for a week to return to Kenya to deal with the terror attack on a Nairobi mall. (Michael Kooren/AFP/Getty Images)
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Walter Barasa, a Kenyan journalist, is wanted for his suspected interference in the trial of Deputy President, William Ruto. The International Criminal Court has evidence to suggest Barasa attempted to bribe a potential prosecution witness who was to testify against Ruto, and announced a warrant for his arrest on Wednesday.

The ICC released a statement saying that Barasa was suspected of "acting in furtherance of a criminal scheme devised by a circle of officials within the Kenyan administration."

The Kenyan government has yet to respond or comment on the allegations.

According to court documents, Prosecutors said Barasa offered the witness around $16,000.

[READ: War Crimes Court Seeks Arrest Of Kenyan]

Judge Cuno Tarfusser ordered Barasa's arrest to prevent him from intervening in anymore of the investigation.

This is the first time the Netherlands-based court is attempting to prosecute someone for intruding on a legal process. BBC's analyst Anna Holligan says the ICC wants to make an example out of Barasa, to detour others from interfering with witnesses and investigations. That is why the warrant was made public today, despite the fact it was issued in August.

But Barasa denies all allegations telling Reuters, "I have not gotten in touch with any witnesses or anybody having any intention of asking them or bribing them to pull out of the case."

He also told Reuters that police had not attempted to detain him.

[MORE: Kenya Deputy President Excused From ICC Trial ]

Barasa could be sentenced for up to five years in jail if he is found guilty.

The court has taken extra measures to protect the female witness along with her identity, BBC reports.

Ruto is on trial for committing crimes against humanity and more specifically for orchestrating violence after Kenya's 2007 elections. Ruto maintained his plea of not guilty, as the trial resumed Wednesday, after a two week recess as a result of the terrorist attacks at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

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