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Gicheru’s move opens way for ICC to charge Ruto afresh

Gicheru’s move opens way for ICC to charge Ruto afresh

By John Kamau, Editor, thingira.org

(Email: thingiragema@gmail.com)

The stage has been set for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reopen Deputy President William Ruto’s crimes against humanity case after lawyer Paul Gicheru (pictured) declined to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution, opting to be judged based on the evidence and exhibits provided.

What this means is that Gicheru will not present evidence to rebut the prosecution’s case but will instead rely on the holes he poked during cross-examination of prosecution witnesses to prove his innocence.

According to a prominent lawyer, Gicheru’s move was informed by the fact that he does not have solid evidence to rebut the prosecution’s facts and exhibits presented.

Hence, Gicheru has tactically pleaded guilty and now hopes the court will be lenient on him.

According to documents filed by his lawyer, Michael Karnavas, Gicheru told the Hague-based court he will not challenge the allegations levelled against him. 

The new twist in the case means the judge will only use the evidence and testimony of witnesses called to the stand to determine whether Gicheru is guilty or not guilty. 

During Gicheru’s case, Ruto was mentioned with witnesses claiming he offered them bribes to withdraw from testifying in his vacated case.

Gicheru is accused of offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing witnesses regarding cases from the situation in Kenya - charges initially pleaded not guilty to.

During the hearing, witness P-0613 claimed he was approached to stop supporting the ICC case against Ruto.

The witness claimed a lawyer was in charge of paying potential witnesses.

"There is one who is superior, and I wasn't told who that is. I was told it is not necessary to know that much. You will be sorted out here," the trial lawyer read the witness's statement. 

"P-0540 told me that the money to pay me and others was coming from Ruto and the money would be coming via Eldoret Lawyer Gicheru," another witness statement detailed. 

Appearing in the court chambers, one witness told the court he had received only Ksh2 million of  Ksh10 million bribe offered to him to withdraw his testimony against Ruto.

Speaking in incognito he revealed that he was also offered a six-acre parcel of land. 

He told the court how he was coached on drafting the letter to the court to withdraw from the case but was shortchanged immediately after he submitted the draft. 

"I was only paid Ksh2 million in four instalments. I was even coached on what to say in the letter of resignation as a prosecution witness and instructed on the person to hand it to after signing it. I did my part and handed the letter to the persons I was told,” the witness claimed.

While terminating the case against Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang, the judges cited witness interference as the main cause of the collapse of the case.

The judges also left the room open for the prosecution to charge Ruto and Sang afresh should new evidence emerge.

If Gicheru is found guilty, the prosecution will use the ruling to reopen the Ruto case.

There is also a high possibility of Ruto being charged with witness interference.

The penalty for witness interference is five years imprisonment.


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