The trial of Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru before the International Criminal Court begins

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He is accused of bribing witnesses during the ICC trial of current Vice President William Ruto for crimes against humanity during the 2007 election violence. The latter, and his co-defendant Joshua Sang, obtained a dismissal in 2016 for lack of evidence, many witnesses having changed their minds. The ICC opened a parallel investigation and issued an arrest warrant against Paul Gicheru in 2015. He surrendered in November 2020 and then released on bail. He was present in The Hague yesterday.

With our correspondent in Nairobi, Albane Thirouard

Offering and paying bribes, threatening and intimidating witnesses… The trial opened with the prosecution detailing the charges against Paul Gicheru.

The investigation and trial of William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang has been hampered from the start by witness subordination and intimidation issues, prompting the prosecutor’s office to open a parallel investigation. The evidence collected will demonstrate that the accused managed and coordinated an entire plan to identify, locate and subornate prosecution witnesses, actual or potential, through bribery and intimidation. The actions of the defendant and his associates led directly to the withdrawal and recantation of at least four prosecution witnesses who were key to the Ruto-Sang case. “, explains the assistant prosecutor of the Court, James Stewart.

The prosecution went on to read testimonies of acts of corruption committed by the Kenyan lawyer. A first witness also spoke in the afternoon. Almost all the questions were put to him behind closed doors.

Facing the judge, Paul Gicheru refuted all the charges. ” Madam Chair, for the record, I plead not guilty. Not guilty. »

This trial starts while William Ruto is currently campaigning for the presidential election next August. In 2016, his case was dismissed and not acquitted. The case can therefore be reopened if new evidence resurfaces.

The trial will resume tomorrow. With the program including the questioning of the witness by the defense.

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