ICC to call 13 witnesses against Gicheru in bribery case

Paul Gicheru

Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru during his first appearance before the ICC on November 6, 2020. The office of the ICC prosecutor will call 13 witnesses in the case he is facing.

Photo credit: Pool | ICC

The office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will call 13 witnesses in the case facing Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru.

Mr Gicheru is accused of bribing witnesses in the collapsed case of Deputy President William Ruto.

The witnesses will cumulatively testify for at least 57 hours at The Hague-based court.

Evidence by the prosecution comprises 43,524 items in at least 221,110 pages.

Oral testimony

In its written submissions on the first status conference that is slated for September 24, the prosecution said witnesses would give oral testimony.

Six witnesses will tell the court how they were “corruptly” influenced by Mr Gicheru and his associates to recant their evidence against Dr Ruto and Mr Joshua arap Sang.

The witnesses are code-named P-0800, P-0536, P-0613, P-0341, P-0274 and P-0516.

Others are three prosecution investigators, an analyst and three experts.

The number may rise to 16 as the prosecution is looking into the possibility of interviewing and calling three more, believed to be relevant to the charges facing the lawyer.

Four of the witnesses testified in the Ruto and Sang case. In-court protective measures will we applied.

Direct examination

The prosecution estimates that it would require more than 57 hours of direct examination of the witnesses.

“Assuming a similar time is permitted for cross examination by the defence, and making a limited provision for any necessary and permissible re-examination, this would bring the duration of the prosecution case to 122 hours, or approximately 27 court days,” reads submissions by Deputy ICC Prosecutor James Stewart.

The prosecution would also seek to introduce the recorded testimony and associated evidence of witnesses who are reportedly subject of interference.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the prosecution does not rule out the possibility of certain witnesses testifying via audio or video link should circumstances demand.

The prosecution intends to rely on documentary and other non-testimonial evidence comprising phone data – including cell phone contacts, text messages and address book entries – as well as bank records.

Sh20.4 million bribes

Mr Gicheru reportedly used Sh20.4 million to bribe witnesses in the crimes against humanity case against Dr Ruto.

Other documentary evidence is the recanting affidavits of the “compromised” witnesses, expert and analytical reports, public source material and records of investigators’ communications with witnesses.

In the list are statements and records of communication between investigators and transcripts at the office of the prosecutor, translations and audio recordings of witnesses and members of the Common Plan – a group of Dr Ruto’s associates that is said to have identified and bribed witnesses.

“The prosecution is reviewing the approximately 420 non-testimonial items already disclosed and recorded in its pre-confirmation list of evidence to determine more accurately which ones it will seek to rely on at trial and the means by which they will be tendered into evidence,” Mr Stewart says in the submissions.

The witnesses will testify in Kiswahili or English. The prosecution says it does not foresee the need for interpretation of any non-court language other than Kiswahili.

The ICC prosecutor says investigations are ongoing and that his team is still following up on several outstanding requests for assistance to the Kenyan government.

Mr Gicheru wants the trial to begin in March next year.