ICC confirms charges against lawyer Paul Gicheru, commits him to trial

Pre-Trial Chamber A, composed of Judge Sophie Alapini-Gansou, based its decision on the evidence and submissions presented.

The Chamber found there are substantial grounds to believe Gicheru committed, as a co-perpetrator, or under alternative modes of liability, offences against the administration of justice between April 2013 and the closure of the Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua Sang case on September 10, 2015, in Kenya.

The court said the offences were allegedly committed by a group of persons including Gicheru with the ultimate goal of undermining the prosecution’s case in the Ruto and Sang case.

Specifically, with relation to eight witnesses, Gicheru and others allegedly contacted the witnesses, offered or payed them financial or other benefits, or threatened or intimidated them to induce them to withdraw as prosecution witnesses.

The court added that Gicheru further contacted the witnesses to have them refuse to or cease cooperating with the prosecution or the Court, or to recant the evidence they had provided.

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.

In cases concerning offences against the administration of justice parties do not have the possibility to appeal a decision on the confirmation of the charges.

The arrest warrant against Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett was issued under seal on March 10, 2015, and unsealed on September 10, 2015, for offences against the administration of justice consisting of corruptly influencing witnesses of the court.

On November 2, 2020, Gicheru surrendered himself to the authorities of The Netherlands and was surrendered to ICC custody on November 3, 2020. His first appearance before the ICC was on November 6, 2020. On December 11, 2020, Pre-Trial Chamber A severed the cases against Gicheru and Bett. The confirmation of charges procedure was conducted in writing.

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