ICC confirms charges against Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru over alleged witness tampering


ICC confirms charges against Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru over alleged witness tampering
Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru appears before the ICC via video-link on November 6, 2020. PHOTO / COURTESY / ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has confirmed charges against Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru who will now stand trial over alleged witness tampering.

The ICC, in a statement posted on its website on Thursday, said Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou of Pre-Trial Chamber A reached the decision upon going through evidence and submissions presented by both the Prosecutor and the Defence.

The court believes lawyer Gicheru committed offences against the administration of justice in order to undermine the Prosecution’s case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

“Specifically, with relation to eight witnesses, Mr Gicheru and other members of the common plan allegedly identified, located, and contacted the witnesses, offered and/or paid them financial or other benefits, and/or threatened or intimidated them, in order to induce them to withdraw as Prosecution witnesses, refuse to or cease cooperating with the Prosecution and/or the Court, and/or to recant the evidence which they had provided to the Prosecution,” read the statement.

“The decision on the confirmation of the charges only serves to determine whether the Prosecutor’s case should proceed to trial. It does not establish the guilt of the accused person, who is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a trial chamber of the Court.”

The ICC issued an arrest warrant against lawyer Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett on March 10, 2015 for what it termed as “offences against the administration of justice consisting of corruptly influencing witnesses.”

Gicheru surrendered himself to authorities in Netherlands on November 2, 2020, over five years after the arrest warrant was issued.

He was taken into ICC custody on November 3, 2020 before making his first appearance before the court on November 6, 2020.

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