NAIROBI, Kenya November 7 – Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru Friday made his first appearance at the international Criminal Court (ICC) where he denied all six charges of witness tampering.
Gicheru, who surrendered to The Hague-based court on Monday, was among three other Kenyans wanted by the Hague-based court over alleged witness meddling in the crime against humanity charges that faced Deputy President William Ruto.
During his first appearance before Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou of Pre-Trial Chamber A , Gicheru confirmed having understood all the six charges against him, and indicated he will be fighting them off.
The charges include being responsible as a direct co-perpetrator for soliciting and corruptly influencing several witnesses by issuing bribes and job offers in exchange of their withdrawal as witnesses.
“I do not intend to admit the charges, I wish to state that the allegations read out to me are not true, all the six of them are false,” he affirmed.
Gicheru further confirmed that he voluntarily surrendered to Dutch authorities without coercion and did so at his own expense.
“As to the conditions of surrender, I wish to confirm to the court that I surrendered myself to the Dutch authorities first without coercion from anybody, there was no threat,” he said.
He admitted to have understood the rights under various articles from Rome Statute including being informed of the content of the charges, having enough time for representation and the right to be present during the hearing.
Judge Alapini-Gansou set 12 February 2021 as the date for filing documents containing a detailed description of the charges and a list of the evidence on which the prosecutor may base his case on.
“Having taken account of the need to give parties time to prepare themselves, the particular circumstances of the current health crisis, nature and scope of this case and the right of a suspect to be charged without undue delay, I fix the date for filing the document as 12 Feb 2021,” she noted.
Judge Alapini-Gansou said the defense may file their evidence not later than 26 February 2021 and that both parties can present their written conclusions by 15 March 2021.
The prosecutor will have until 26 March 2021 to present reply of written submissions of defense while the defense will have until 29 March to reply to submissions of prosecutor.
“The date for filing document may be postponed depending on how the procedure develops and either through request of prosecutor or defense,” she said.