Days after a third accused, lawyer Paul Gicheru surrendered to Dutch police over his alleged involvement in interference with the witnesses in Deputy President William Ruto’s case at the ICC, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has issued a statement.
Gicheru had reportedly agreed to shed light on his life since a warrant of arrest was issued against him in 2015. Gicheru’s wife stated that the decision to quietly fly to The Netherlands was reached by the family, adding that her husband was prepared to face his charges.
Through her statement, Bensouda urged the Government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and surrender the remaining two suspects to the custody of the Court
“I call on the Kenyan authorities to fulfil their obligations under the Rome Statute to ensure the surrender of the remaining two suspects to the custody of the Court, so that their guilt or innocence on the charges against them may be determined in a court of law,” read the statement.
Bensouda also welcomed the move by Mr. Gicheru to surrender and urged the Government of Kenya to facilitate the arrest of the two remaining suspects, Philip Kipkoech Bett and Walter Osapiri Barasa.
Mr. Walter Barasa and Mr. Philip Bett alongside Mr. Gicheru are facing charges of allegedly bribing six prosecution witnesses to recant their statements.
“On March 10, 2015, the judges issued a warrant of arrest for Gicheru. In their decision, they found that the evidence presented by my office established reasonable grounds to believe that Gicheru and Kipkoech were involved in an organized and systematic criminal scheme, aimed at approaching and corrupting six Prosecution witnesses, through bribes and other inducements, in exchange for withdrawing as witnesses and/or recanting their prior statements to the Prosecution.
“The integrity of witnesses is essential for the Court’s determination of the truth. Within its means and mandate, my office is committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who attempt to pervert the course of justice by interfering with ICC witnesses,” Bensouda stated.
Gicheru is expected to appear before the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber II and will be without his lawyer John Khaminwa.
However, Khaminwa has written to the ICC requesting the court not to detain his client due to his health condition.