Five Years After Arrest Warrant, Kenyan Lawyer Surrenders To ICC

A Kenyan lawyer, Paul Gicheru, has surrendered to the International Criminal Court (ICC) five years after it issued a warrant for his arrest, relating to post-election violence in Kenya.

Gicheru, another Kenyan, Phillip Bett; and a third unnamed individual were charged in 2015 with obstructing the course of justice, interfering with the prosecutors’ witnesses in the case against alleged organisers and funders of the violence in 2007.

According to a statement by The Hague-based court, released on Monday, Mr Gicheru surrendered to the Dutch authorities after five-year-long search.

“Today, 2 November 2020, Mr Paul Gicheru surrendered to the authorities of The Netherlands pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court,” reads the statement from ICC.

“The Court, through the Registry services, submitted a cooperation request to the Dutch authorities for the arrest and surrender of Mr Gicheru to the Court upon completion of the necessary national arrest proceedings.”

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Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova had on February 9, 2015, issued warrants of arrest against the trio. The judge directed that the three be arrested in Kenya or any other country, and their premises be searched after which they were to be presented before the ICC. On March 10, 2015, the judge withdrew the warrant of arrest for the third person.

More than 1,000 people were killed, 900 acts of rape and sexual violence were documented, and approximately 350,000 people were displaced.

The ICC accuses Mr Gicheru and others of operating a scheme to approach witnesses, corrupt them, and get them to withdraw from the cases.

Mr Gicheru has not commented.

Gicheru is facing six counts related to interfering with the witnesses. In the first count, he is accused of trying to bribe witness P397 with Sh1 million and Sh5 million to have him withdraw testimony against a suspect in the court.

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In the second count, he is accused of trying to bribe witness P-516 with Sh500,000 to recant his testimony. He is accused of trying to persuade witness P-613 to withdraw as a prosecution witness. He is also accused of trying to persuade witness P-800 by offering a bribe of Sh2.5 million to Sh1.5 million to influence prosecution witness to withdraw.

In the fifth count, he is accused of trying to induce witness P-495 with Sh2.5 million to withdraw as a prosecution witness. Lastly, he is accused of trying to bribe witness P-536 with Sh1 million to Sh1.4 million to withdraw as a prosecution witness. The court documents that all crimes were committed between 2013 and 2014.

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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were among six people indicted by the ICC for their role in the violence.

After years in court the ICC prosecutor dropped the cases against Mr Kenyatta in 2015, and Mr Ruto a year later, blaming witness interference.

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