By Kenya Confidential ICC Correspondent, The Hague, March 24, 2022.
The International Criminal Court has concluded its hearing of the case against Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru, who was Deputy President William Ruto during The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) trial.
The last witness (P-0739) called by the Prosecution finished testifying and the trial was adjourned. ICC said scheduling information will be provided in due course.
During the proceedings on Thursday evening, the last witness said his life was in danger due to the testimony he gave earlier.
“I want direction about my situation because it came to my knowledge as from yesterday while testifying that my security is threatened based on what I have said,” the witness said.
He had testified that Gicheru paid him Ksh2 million to withdraw as a witness in Deputy President Ruto’s crimes against humanity case.
The case was vacated but can be re-opened should ICC find he interfered with witnesses to defeat the course of justice.
The Witness explained that a person who linked him to the lawyer kept begging for the share of the money.
“His friend had a role in the money I had been given. He would ask for the money to fuel his car and kept on begging from me,” the witness said.
The witness, P-0739, sought assurances from the court of his safety. He also asked the court to assure him that the support he has been receiving will not be cut now that he had finished testifying.
“The last time I testified (in the Ruto-Sang case) and later the amount (I was receiving from court) was reduced by almost a quarter. This is my worry,” he added.
Gicheru is facing offences against the administration of justice, consisting of corruptly influencing witnesses regarding cases from the situation in Kenya.
Gicheru has pleaded not guilty before presiding judge Miatta Maria Samba.
Gicheru first appeared before the Court on November 6, 2020. He then went into hiding until last year.
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.
If the court determines that Ruto interfered with witnesses to defeat justice, he will face trial.