Paul Gicheru's ICC trial to start in February

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 trial of Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will start on February 15, 2022 in The Hague. The court's prosecution is expected to call up to 13 witnesses.

The commencement of the trial will be two weeks earlier than what both the prosecution and the defence had requested. Both wanted it to kick off on March 1, 2022.

Ahead of the commencement of the trial, the presiding Judge, Miatta Maria Samba, directed the prosecution to disclose all evidence and material on which the prosecution intends to rely on at trial, as well as provide a list of witnesses.

All this will have to be done by November 15 2021.

The judge said it was “both feasible and desirable” to commence the trial on February 15.

“In making this determination, the Chamber took into account its obligations with regard to the protection of witnesses pursuant to Article 68(1) of the Statute as well as its duty to ensure that the accused has adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence,” the judge said.

Mr Gicheru is accused of corruptly influencing witnesses who were to give evidence against Deputy President William Ruto at the ICC. 

The witnesses

The prosecution has indicated that it intends to call between 12 and 13 witnesses though some limited investigations are still ongoing up to December 1, 2021 which could see the witness list increase to no more than 16.

According to the prosecution, six witnesses P-0800, P-0536, P-0613, P-0341, P-0274 and P-0516 will testify as to how they were corruptly influenced by Mr Gicheru and his associates.

The prosecution also intends to call up to three prosecution investigators “who will testify as to discrete aspects of the investigation.”

The third category of witnesses will be an analysts while the fourth category will be expert witnesses estimated to be up to three. 

“As regards the total number of hours required for the presentation of the Prosecution evidence, the Prosecution estimates that it would require a total of just over 57 hours for the direct examination of the witnesses it intends to call,” the prosecution said. 

In total, the presentation of the prosecution’s case plus cross-examination and re-examination of witnesses should take 27 court days, according to the prosecution.

Mr Gicheru voluntarily surrendered to the ICC in November 2020, five years after a warrant of arrest was issued against him for allegedly tampering with witnesses who were to testify against DP Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang, who had been charged at the ICC for their alleged prominent roles in the 2007/8 post-election violence. 

Mr Gicheru has denied the allegations as well as claims by some of Dr Ruto’s supporters that he surrendered to ‘fix’ the DP ahead of the 2022 elections.