PRE-TRIAL

Paul Gicheru surrenders to ICC for corruptly influencing witnesses

He is suspected of influencing witnesses of the court.

In Summary

•  Gicheru, a lawyer formerly based in Kenya, is suspected of offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing witnesses of the Court.

• The Court, through the Registry services, submitted a cooperation request to the Dutch authorities for the arrest and surrender of Gicheru to the Court upon completion of the necessary national arrest proceedings.

The ICC headquarters in the Hague.
The ICC headquarters in the Hague.
Image: ICC

Paul Gicheru has surrendered to the authorities of The Netherlands pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court. 

Gicheru, a lawyer formerly based in Kenya, is suspected of offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing witnesses of the court.

The Court, through the Registry services, submitted a cooperation request to the Dutch authorities for the arrest and surrender of Gicheru to the Court upon completion of the necessary national arrest proceedings.

 
 
 

The arrest warrant against Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett was issued under seal on 10 March 2015 and unsealed on 10 September 2015.

Philip Kipkoech Bett is not in ICC custody.

The case remains in the Pre-Trial stage, pending the suspects' arrest or voluntary appearance before the Court. The ICC does not try individuals in their absence.

The court had issued a warrant of arrest warrants for three Kenyans — Walter Barasa, Paul Gicheru and Phillip Bett — on charges of obstructing the course of justice.

This was after chaos erupted on December 31, 2007, after the announcement of Mwai Kibaki as the presidential poll winner in a race he closely contested with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

 As a result, over 1,000 people were killed, 900 acts of rape and sexual violence documented, and approximately 350,000 people were displaced.

The Prosecutor alleges that there existed, from at least April 2013, a criminal scheme designed to systematically approach and corruptly influence witnesses of the Prosecutor through bribery and other methods of inducements in exchange for their withdrawal as prosecution witnesses and/or recantation of their prior statements to the Prosecutor.

 

The evidence indicated that said scheme has been run in an organised manner and with a clear distribution of tasks.

In particular, Gicheru is pointed out as a manager and coordinator of the scheme, meaning that he has finalised agreements with corrupted witnesses, organised the formalisation of their withdrawal and handled the payment.

The role of Bett was to contact the witnesses, at least some of whom they knew previously, and to make initial proposals before bringing them to the managers, particularly Paul Gicheru.

The evidence indicated that a similar role within the same scheme was exercised by Walter Osapiri Barasa, for whom a warrant of arrest has been issued by the Court on 2 August 2013.

There is also information that those witnesses who were successfully corrupted were enticed to make contact with other witnesses, for the purpose of their corruption.

Following the 2007/08 chaos, Deputy President William Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity alongside journalist Joshua Sang and former ODM chairman Henry Kosgey.

The general charges also applied to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, and former police commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali.

The ‘Hague Six’ were accused of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, persecution, rape, and other inhumane acts during the poll chaos.

ICC terminated their case on April 5, 2016, about a year after President Kenyatta’s, which was dropped on March 13, 2015.

The prosecutor, in the case that exposed the ICC bareback,  cited interference of witnesses as the core reason the matter could not proceed.