Why ICC was after Paul Gicheru, Kenyan lawyer found dead at his Karen home

for Tv47 Digital September 27, 2022, 07:40 AM
Paul Gicheru
Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru.

Lawyer Paul Gicheru was found dead at his home in Karen, Nairobi on Monday, September 26 evening.

The 50-year-old lawyer shot to prominence on November 2, 2020, when he surrendered to the Netherlands authority following an ICC arrest warrant issued against him on March 10, 2015.

A day after his surrender, Gicheru was handed over to the Hague-based court custody.

Gicheru is accused of offences against the administration of justice consisting of corruptly influencing witnesses, in a case where current President William Ruto, his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta, and journalist Joshua Arap Sang’ were tried at the ICC over the 2007/2008 Post Election skirmishes.

The cases against the aforementioned persons were later withdrawn due to insufficient evidence, after massive withdrawals of prosecution witnesses.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says these witnesses withdrawals was the handiwork of the Eldoret-based lawyer, and others not before the court.

Witness corruption scheme

ICC claims that there existed, from at least April 2013, a criminal scheme specifically designed to approach and corruptly influence witnesses of the Prosecutor through bribery and other incentives in exchange for either their withdrawal or recantation of their prior statements to the Prosecutor.

Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru at the opening of his trial at the ICC on 15 February 2022 ©ICC-CPI

The court says Gicheru was the manager and coordinator of the said scheme who “finalised agreements with corrupted witnesses, organised the formalisation of their withdrawal and handled the payment.”

Another Kenyan, Philip Kipkoech Bett who is still at large is suspected to have been the person who contacted witnesses and making initial proposals before bringing them to the managers, particularly Paul Gicheru.

According to the charges, ICC claims that witness P-397, for example, was promised KSh5 million in exchange of withdrawal as a witness of the Prosecutor.

“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,” asserts ICC.

On July 15, 2021, ICC confirmed the charges against Gicheru, who they say worked with Bett, Silas Simatwo, Meshack Yebei, Walter Barasa and others.

Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru. He died at a time when the ICC was yet to issue its findings after the hearing on whether to convict or acquit him on the witness interference charges.

The closing statements from the prosecution and defence were delivered on June 27, 2022.

The 2007/08 violence saw at least 1,300 Kenyans losing their lives, hundreds injured and more than 600,000 displaced.

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