Police to guard Kenyan wanted at ICC for witness intimidation

Kenya's High Court ordered police protection Wednesday for an ex-journalist wanted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly trying to bribe witnesses, as he appeals against his arrest warrant.

The International Criminal Court last week said it had issued a warrant for the arrest of Walter Barasa for allegedly trying to bribe witnesses to drop their testimony in the crimes against humanity trial of Deputy President William Ruto.

Barasa's application to block his arrest is slated to be heard on Thursday, court officials said.

Kenya is bound by its membership of the ICC to act on its demands, but the warrant -- the first by the 10-year-old court for alleged witness interference -- must first pass before a Kenyan judge before it is acted upon.

Barasa, 41, "is charged with several offences against the administration of justice including corruptly influencing or attempting to corruptly influence ICC witnesses", the Hague-based ICC said in a statement.

He has also allegedly "been and is still acting in furtherance of a criminal scheme devised by a circle of officials within the Kenyan administration", the court said, without elaborating.

He denies all the allegations.

The warrant marks the latest chapter in increasingly troubled relations between the ICC and Kenya, where lawmakers have voted to leave the court's founding Rome Statute.