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ICC ghosts return as Hague-based court sets pre-trial chamber for Gicheru

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, November 3 confirmed that indeed Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru was surrendered to their custody by Dutch authorities.

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

The lawyer has been on the run for almost six years after the Pre-Trial Chamber II which was headed by Judge Ekatrina Trendafilova issued an arrest warrant against him on March 10, 2015.

Gicheru surrendered to the authorities of The Netherlands on Monday, November 2. He was transferred to the ICC custody after the completion of the necessary national arrest proceedings.  

The Hague-based court has already established a pre-trial chamber to hear the case against Gicheru.

The suspect’s first appearance before the Court is expected to take place shortly after his arrival. During the first appearance, the Pre-Trial Chamber confirms the identity of the suspect, ensures that the suspect understands the charges, confirms that language in which the proceedings should be conducted, and sets a date to begin the confirmation of charges hearing,” says ICC.

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A criminal 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.

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

Another Kenyan who is still at large, Philip Kipkoech Bett, who is not in ICC custody 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 Kes5 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,” insists ICC.

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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