The International Criminal Court said on Wednesday it had issued an arrest warrant for a Kenyan citizen charged with trying to bribe witnesses to withdraw testimony in a case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.
IRuto and President Uhuru Kenyatta are charged separately with orchestrating a wave of violence that swept Kenya after contested elections in 2007, in which some 1,200 people died.
Several witnesses have withdrawn, with prosecutors alleging intimidation and defence lawyers denying it. The loss of a key witness led to the collapse of the case against Kenyatta's co-accused, former civil service head Francis Muthaura, in March.
In a court filing, prosecutors said Walter Osapiri Barasa had been charged with three counts of corruptly influencing a witness, allegedly paying one prosecution witness and his wife 1.4 million shillings ($16,200) to withdraw their testimony. They said Kenya must now arrest Barasa.
"This is the first case before the ICC where a suspect is charged with an offence against the administration of justice," the court said in its statement.
Ruto's trial, which began last month, resumed on Wednesday, after an adjournment to allow the deputy president to handle issues related to an attack on a Nairobi mall on Sept. 21. Kenyatta's trial starts in November.
A spokesman for the court, Fadi El Abdallah, said the Kenyan authorities had been informed about the arrest warrant but did not say when that information was passed to them. Barasa said police had not yet sought to detain him.
One Kenyan police spokesperson had no comment on the case. Other Kenyan police and other officials could not immediately be reached.
The court said Judge Cuno Tarfusser considered the prosecutor's evidence "established reasonable grounds to believe that Walter Barasa is criminally responsible as direct perpetrator for the crime of corruptly influencing or, alternatively, attempting to corruptly influence witnesses by offering to pay them to withdraw as ICC prosecution witnesses."