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ICC rejects Gicheru's bid to appeal against charges

By Kamau Muthoni | August 6th 2021

Lawyer Paul Gicheru. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The International Criminal Court has denied lawyer Paul Gicheru's a chance to challenge confirmation of charges against him.

Pre-Trial judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou set the next stage for the lawyer to stand trial for allegedly influencing eight witnesses who were to testify against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang.

Immediately after the confirmation of charges, Gicheru filed a new application before the same judge, urging her to allow him to appeal. She, however, rejected his fresh bid to end the trial, noting that the Appeal's Chamber had directed that suspects should challenge pre-trial and trial chambers decisions once the final verdict has been made.

“Therefore, the Chamber finds that the law is clear on the fact that the defense has no legal basis to submit a request for leave to appeal pursuant to Article 82(1)(d) of the Statute,15 which does not apply to the present proceedings,” she decreed.

According to the lawyer, the judge turned a blind eye which in the end meant that the trial would proceed on flimsy evidence and unfounded charges. Gicheru argued that if the prosecution proceeded with the case, it would only result in a judgment of a no case to answer.

 He also faulted the judge for failing to assess the credibility of witnesses lined up against him adding that Justice Alapini-Gansou relied on unreliable and uncorroborated hearsay statements of prosecution witnesses to commit him to trial.

“An immediate resolution of these issues by the Appeals Chamber is necessary for the fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings and its outcome since an appeal would demonstrate that the charges against Mr Gicheru should not be confirmed,” argued Gicheru’s lawyer Michael Karvanas.

“Granting leave to appeal materially advances the proceedings in Mr Gicheru’s case, moves forward the proceedings, and removes doubts on the correctness of the decision or map of course of action along the right lines.”

Gicheru is accused of tampering with witnesses P-0274, P-0341, P-0397, P-0495, P-0516, P-0536, P-0613, and P-0800.

At the heart of the trial are witnesses who recanted their evidence against Ruto and Sang at the ICC on claims that they were offered kickbacks of between Sh500,000 and Sh2 million.

 In response, the prosecution urged the judge to dismiss the application. It argued that if the Appeal's Chamber agrees with Gicheru it would mean the trial would be terminated without a hearing. ICC deputy prosecutor James Stewart is

Gicheru surrendered to ICC last year after an arrest warrant issued by The Hague-based court over claims of witness interference. According to the prosecutor, one witness said Gicheru informed them they needed to reach and buy out all involved to stop assisting ICC. 

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