ICC evidence against Ruto to be used in lawyer Paul Gicheru case

Lawyer Paul Gicheru during an interview with The Standard. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has allowed evidence extracted from Deputy President William Ruto’s post-poll chaos file to be used against lawyer Paul Gicheru.

Gicheru is facing witness tampering charges at the Hague-based court.

The court further directed that some evidence that had been filed against radio journalist Joshua Sang to also be transferred to Gicheru’s case.

Trial Chamber Three judge, Miatta Maria Samba, ruled on Tuesday, August 24 that the transcripts obtained from several witnesses, who testified against DP Ruto and Sang, be transferred to Gicheru’s suit.

Maria said the Prosecution will rely on the transferred transcripts as evidence against Gicheru.

The Prosecution, on their part, stated the information obtained from the two former suspects’ files was “crucial”.

This is the first time the court is reopening the Ruto and Sang files after they were closed five years ago.

Following the latest directive, Justice Maria asked the Prosecution to inform Gicheru on the protective measures applied on each of the witnesses recorded.

“The Chamber hereby orders the Registry to transfer the transcripts and related material, as listed in Part I and II of filing ICC-01/09-01/20-151-Conf-AnxA, into the record of this case. The prosecution to inform the defense pursuant to regulation 42(2) of the regulations of the Court of the nature of the protective measures concerning the witness,” directed Justice Maria.

The Prosecution had, on July 14, 2021, formally sought to have items related to the testimony by one of the witnesses against Gicheru, be transferred to the suspect’s case.

The team, led by Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart, explained that, while the witness was mentioned, no transcripts relating to his testimony were included, due to an ongoing update security assessment.

The court heard that the Trial Chamber Four had decided on the witness, however it did not include any item related to the witness’s testimony.

The Prosecution informed the Chamber that all security concerns have been resolved, and that the factual allegations by the witness are closely related to Gicheru’s case.

“The Chamber notes that the Witness received protective measures in the main case. The aim of these measures is to protect the witness’s identity from the public at large. However, the transfer of the transcripts and related material into the record of this case does not affect this purpose, since, in accordance with regulation 42(1) of the regulations of the court, the confidentiality with regard to the public remains,” Justice Maria observed.

Gicheru surrendered to the ICC in November 2020 following an arrest warrant issued by the ICC over allegations of witness interference.

According to the prosecutor, one witness (P-0274) narrated that Gicheru informed them that they needed to reach out and buy out everyone involved in the cases in order to stop them from assisting the ICC.

He claimed that P-0274, alongside P-0341, attended the victims’ public meeting at the beginning of the Ruto and Sang case.