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Gicheru’s ICC case resumes on 27th June

Gicheru’s ICC case resumes on 27th June

By Paul Munene

The case against Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru (pictured) at The International Criminal Court (ICC) resumes next month.

Both the Prosecution and defence have been directed to file their closing briefs on 10 June 2022.

According to the scheduling information provided by the court, closing statements will be held on June 27 during the morning sessions.

Each party will be accorded one hour for their statement. The Prosecution will present its statement first, followed by the Defence.

“Pursuant to Rule 141(2) of the Rules, the Chamber sets the date for the closing statements for 27 June 2022. The Chamber is of the view that closing statements should largely address the closing brief of the other party and stresses should not be a repetition of the content of their own closing brief,” the Presiding  Trial Chamber III Judge Miatta Maria Samba indicated in the schedule released Thursday evening.

The Hague based court concluded the hearing of Gicheru’s case on March 29, when the Office of the Prosecutor filed a formal notice on the completion of its presentation of evidence.

Gicheru who is facing offences against the administration of justice, consisting in corruptly influencing witnesses regarding cases from the situation in Kenya pleaded not guilty when the trial opened in February.

The last witness who testified against the lawyer claimed his life was in danger.

The witness, P-0739, said he feared for his life because of the nature of his evidence and the persons he mentioned during the three days he was in the witness box at The Hague.

He sought assurances from the court that the financial support he receives from the court’s Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU) will not be cut because he has finished testifying.

On 25 April 2022, the Defence filed a motion to introduce evidence other than through a witness but did not succeed.

“On 4 May 2022, the Defence informed the Chamber via email that it does not intend to file any further motions at this stage of the proceedings. On 12 May 2022…. the Chamber, pursuant to Rule 141(1) of the Rules, declares the submission of evidence in this case closed,” the judge said.

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

On 2 November 2020, Gicheru surrendered himself to the authorities of The Netherlands and was surrendered to ICC custody on 3 November 2020. His first appearance before the ICC took place on 6 November 2020.

On 11 December 2020, Pre-Trial Chamber A severed the cases against Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett. The confirmation of charges procedure was conducted in writing.

According to the ICC, Gicheru and others being sought by the court were found to have executed a well-orchestrated plan of interfering with witnesses who were crucial in the William Ruto and Sang cases.

“The Chamber found that there are substantial grounds to believe that Gicheru committed, as a co-perpetrator, or under alternative modes of liability, offences against the administration of justice (Article 70(1)(c) of the Rome Statute) between April 2013 and the closure of the Ruto and Sang case on 10 September 2015, in Kenya,” ICC said in a statement.

“The offences were allegedly committed in the furtherance of a common plan implemented by a group of persons including Gicheru, with the ultimate goal of undermining the Prosecution’s case in the Ruto and Sang case,”  the statement added. 

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