Gicheru trial closes, court retreats to consider evidence

1 month ago 32

The International Criminal Court has retreated to deliberate on the evidence presented against lawyer Paul Gicheru.

This is after the prosecution and defence made closing statements on Monday.

The statements were made before Judge Miatta Maria Samba of ICC Trial Chamber III by lawyer Michael Karvanas for Gicheru and Anton Steynberg for the prosecution.

Samba thanked the registry, interpreters, transcribers, defence and prosecution for the support throughout the trial.

“We will retire to do deliberations. Hearing is hereby adjourned,” she said.

In his closing statement, Steynberg told the court there was compelling evidence that Gicheru committed offences against the administration of justice in the case against William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang.

Ruto and Sang were accused of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the context of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.

Karvanas however said the evidence brought before the court “was all about insinuation.”

“We are asking you to objectively assess the evidence- which we know you will do- and look at the case holistically,” he said.

Steynberg said Gicheru was involved in “a lot of illicit witness coaching” and payment of bribes.

“The evidence from eight witnesses was too voluminous and consistent. If he (Gicheru) was framed, it would be a product of grand conspiracy.

"Witnesses would have communicated with each other and compared notes. For nine years, the witnesses were based in different locations,” he said.

Steynberg said the witnesses would not have any reason to target Gicheru since they had no prior dealings or grudge against him.

He added that the defence’s narrative was that “every African wants to leave the continent and live in Europe.”

“There was no evidence that the witnesses benefited in anyway apart from the assumption that when out of Africa, they were better off. They had nothing to gain from the case,” Steynberg said.

Karvanas termed the witnesses as liars and opportunists and that the prosecution was motivated by the “raw desire to win.”

“The prosecution bought into lies, ignoring flaws and contradictions and weaponising the verb ‘clarify’. If they did not get the facts right the first time, they had to try and try again. There are gaping gaps in this case,” he said.

Gicheru’s trial opened on February 15, he however pleaded not-guilty to all charges. Eight witnesses testified for the prosecution.

The office of the prosecutor completed its presentation of evidence on March 29. The defence announced on April 25, that it will not present any evidence.

In March 2015, a warrant of arrest was issued against Gicheru and another Kenyan Philip Kipkoech Bett for allegedly corrupting witnesses.

During the hearing, some witnesses admitted to being coached to fix Ruto and Sang in exchange for a ticket out of Africa.

Gicheru allegedly offered bribes and other inducements, in exchange for withdrawal as witnesses or recantation of their prior statements to the prosecution.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)

Source : The Star