I lied about Ruto arming youth in 2007 PEV, witness claims

Paul Gicheru

Lawyer Paul Gicheru during the opening of his case at the ICC on February 15, 2022. A witness in the case against the Kenyan lawyer alleged that he saw cartons of guns and DP Ruto's house during the 2007 PEV.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

The last prosecution witness in the case against Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru at the International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday admitted that he lied about the involvement of Deputy President William Ruto in the violence that occurred in the Rift Valley after the 2007 General Election.

The witness was being cross-examined by the defence about his evidence in relation to alleged bribery of witnesses who had been lined up by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) in the case against William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.

Mr Gicheru is accused of offences against the administration of justice by corruptly influencing eight witnesses who were to testify in the Ruto-Sang case, which stemmed from the post-election violence.

During cross-examination by Defence Counsel Suzana Tomanović, the witness, identified as P-0739 said among the false information he gave the ICC investigators in 2010 and 2014 was that Mr Ruto had recruited young men and armed them with guns.

In his statement to the investigators, he had even drawn a sketch of the guns that he alleged were packed in cartons in Dr Ruto’s house.

He had told the investigators that the weapons were transported to Dr Ruto’s house in a pick-up vehicle owned by a person named in court documents as Person-56.

The witness admitted that he came up with the formula and idea of linking Dr Ruto with transportation and arming of youths because Person-56 owned a pick-up vehicle and was an associate of Dr Ruto.

“You used facts and imaginations to come up with a perfect lie,” the defence lawyer told him.

Another lie to the investigators, the court heard, was that Mr Ruto held a meeting in house with youth leaders from every area. He alleged that inside the house he saw cartons and the DP “came with a gun and demonstrated how to shoot people”.

He alleged that those who were called are people who had served in the military and had either retired or terminated their services with the army.

“Every leader from every place was given a box of guns. Do you remember saying this?” posed the Defence counsel.

Witness: Yes, I said that in our first meeting with investigators, it was not true.

In regard to bribery of witnesses, the man testified that Dr Ruto was using his personal assistant to deal with people who were compromising the witnesses by giving them money.

He informed court that the said assistant is a former worker at the Moi University. The court heard that people linked to a group described as “Common Plan” that was tasked with buying the witnesses, were competing on who compromises more witnesses than the other.

“They would first listen to the evidence of the witness and make a determination whether to pay him/her to recant his/her evidence or ignore it. They were the final decision makers and after that the witness would be paid or dismissed,” he testified.