The International Criminal Court has so far issued arrest warrants for three Kenyans in connection with witness interference after crimes against humanity charges were confirmed in the cases against Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang. Here are brief biographical sketches of the individuals wanted by the ICC.
Walter Osapiri Barasa
A former journalist, Barasa worked for Nation for about four years and then left and started writing for the Weekly Citizen using Walter Osapiri as his byline.
Between 2000 and 2001, he was employed as a researcher at the Centres for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) run by activist Ken Wafula in Eldoret. He also worked as the People newspaper’s Eldoret correspondent.
After post-2007 election violence, he worked with a number of NGOs. His outgoing personality saw him he one day meet with ICC investigators and become a logistics person identifying potential witnesses and bringing them to the ICC. He would also arrange for statement taking and relocation of witnesses.
He had expected that he would get a handsome payoff for the work he did for the ICC but when he only received a ‘Thank You’ letter with no monetary reward, he switched sides.
On September 21, 2013, before his arrest warrant was unsealed, he met an ICC investigator at Westgate Shopping Mall just hours before the terrorist attack. During the meeting, it is said the investigator made him an offer to agree to become a prosecution witness and disclose to the judges how one of the accused persons at the ICC and his associates tampered with witnesses or the court would unseal his arrest warrant.
Based on his previous experience as an intermediary when he left empty handed, it is said he declined the offer. A short while later, the arrest warrant against him was unsealed. An extradition cause filed in the High Court for his surrender went against him, but he appealed.
Afterwards, his elderly mother collapsed and died in what some say may have been caused by shock.
He now lives in Eldoret with no formal employment and a fugitive. Barasa was born in Mt Elgon region, Bungoma County.
He is a prominent lawyer described by close associates describe as one of the best legal minds in the country. He has lived most of his life in Eldoret, where he runs the legal firm – Gicheru and Company Advocates – with offices in Nairobi.
It is said that given his work he became very close to one of the ICC defence lawyers and was drafting affidavits for witnesses who had recanted their testimony against Ruto and Sang.
Currently he is the chairman of the Public Procurement Review Board, a position he was appointed to after Jubilee Coalition came into power in 2013.
According to Ken Wafula, who has since turned ICC critic, what Mr Gicheru was doing was within his professional practice.
“The ICC cannot criminalise a profession,” Wafula told Journalists for Justice.
Gicheru once acted for Wafula in a case against the Judges and Magistrates Vetting board in 2013 when the activist appealed the sacking of Justices Mohammed Ibrahim and Roselyne Nambuye. Both judges were reinstated. Justice Mr Ibrahim sits in the Supreme Court while Justice Nambuye is a Court of Appeal judge.
He is the least known of all the three people the ICC has issued warrants of arrest against for witness tampering.
He comes from Kaptebet near Turbo which was hard hit by violence that erupted in the aftermath of the 2007 elections.
He shares a boundary with the Meshack Yebei, who was abducted and his body later found after several days. Yebei’s murder was linked to his association with the ICC.
Bett works a casual labourer for a Joseph Kering, mainly as a farm hand. His employer is said to be very close friends with William Ruto.
Mr Bett is mainly said to have been a go-between for the prosecution witnesses and allies of the accused persons.
He is in his early 30s and maintains a low profile. He has been avoiding the glare of the media after his arrest warrant was unsealed.alter Osapiri Barasa
Date of birth: 1972
Place of birth: Kenya
Warrant of arrest:
Issued under seal on 2 August 2013
Unsealed on 2 October 2013
The Prosecution alleges that Walter Osapiri Barasa is criminally responsible as direct perpetrator, under article 25(3)(a) or alternatively article 25(3)(f) of the Rome Statute for three counts of offences against the administration of justice consisting in in corruptly or attempting to corruptly influencing three ICC witnesses.
The Prosecutor v. Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett
Warrant of arrest:
Prosecution request on 9 February 2015
Issued under seal on 10 March 2015
Unsealed on 10 September 205
Philip Kipkoech Bett, also known as “Kipseng’erya”, hailing from and residing in Kenya, and Paul Gicheru, a lawyer based in Kenya, are suspected of offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing Prosecution witnesses.
On 21 September 2013, unidentified gunmen attacked the upmarket Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The attack resulted in at least 67 deaths, and more than 175 people were reportedly wounded in the mass shooting.