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Gicheru is a Kenyan lawyer facing charges of offences against the administration of justice/FILE


ICC rejects Gicheru’s request for a temporary stay of trial

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) trial chamber has rejected the request for a temporary stay of proceedings by Paul Gicheru’s defence team.

Gicheru is a Kenyan lawyer facing charges of offences against the administration of justice.

On 17 September 2021, Gicheru’s defence team filed a request to temporarily stay the proceedings and informed the trial Chamber that it has filed a request for disqualification of Judge Maria Samba with the Presidency.

Gicheru’s defence had argued that further rulings by Judge Samba would jeopardize the fair trial rights their client and requested that a scheduled Status Conference and all proceedings are suspended until a decision by the Plenary on a pending disqualification request.

In response, the prosecution submitted that the request should be rejected arguing it does not meet the threshold for such a measure.

“On 20 September 2021, upon instruction by the Chamber,7 the Prosecution filed its response (the ‘Response’). It argues that the Request should be rejected since a stay of proceedings is an exceptional remedy9 and the Request does not meet the high threshold for such a measure. Additionally, it submits that even the mere postponement of the Status Conference without a temporary stay of proceedings should also not be granted,” the ICC said in statement.

In a verdict rendered on Tuesday the trial chamber further stated that the defence did not provide any statutory basis or formulate a clear and specific request, adding that under specific circumstances, email communication is efficient and appropriate, which was not the case in the current instance.

The chamber stated that it will not address the Email from defence team.

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“Further, considering how the Request is resolved below, it does not consider that a formal filing on this matter is necessary.”

The trial chamber also ordered the reclassification of the request as public, despite the request and response on the matter being filed as ‘confidential’.

“The Chamber issues this decision publicly, despite the Request and Response being filed as ‘confidential’. First, it reminds the parties of the principle of publicity of the proceedings, which mandates that there needs to be a specific justification to file submissions as confidential,” said the ICC.

“Second, it reminds the parties that the mere fact that a filing makes reference to non-public documents does not mean that it has to have the same level of classification. Only if mentioning the filing would defeat the purpose as to why the other document was classified as ‘confidential’, should result in the filing not being public,” the court added.

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