The International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber A has confirmed charges against Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru, who surrendered to authorities of the Netherlands in November last year.
In an announcement on Thursday, the ICC said that Mr Gicheru has now been committed to trial for alleged witness tampering.
“Pre-Trial Chamber A, composed of Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou, based its decision on the evidence and submissions presented by the Prosecutor and the Defence,” the announcement said.
If found guilty upon the conclusion of his trial, the advocate, who is accused of corruptly influencing witnesses who were to give evidence against Deputy President William Ruto at the ICC, could provide fresh links between the DP and the 2007/08 post-election violence that caused the deaths of more than 1,200 people and displacement of hundreds of thousands.
“The Chamber found that there are substantial grounds to believe that Mr Gicheru committed, as a co-perpetrator, or under alternative modes of liability, offences against the administration of justice (article 70(1)(c) of the Rome Statute) between April 2013 and the closure of the Ruto and Sang case on 10 September 2015, in Kenya. The offences were allegedly committed in the furtherance of a common plan implemented by a group of persons including Mr Gicheru, with the ultimate goal of undermining the Prosecution's case in the Ruto and Sang case,” the ICC said in the Thursday announcement.
Mr Gicheru, whose warrant of arrest was issued in March 2015, faces a maximum of five years in prison, or a fine, or both, if found guilty.
“The decision on the confirmation of the charges only serves to determine whether the Prosecutor's case should proceed to trial. It does not establish the guilt of the accused person, who is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a trial chamber of the Court,” the ICC added Thursday.