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Lawyer Paul Gicheru to appear in Hague court
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|Lawyer Paul Gicheru to appear in Hague court by Kenyans247(1): Thu 05, November, 2020 03:49pm|
Lawyer Paul Gicheru will tomorrow make the initial appearance at the International Criminal Court (ICC) where he faces charges of bribing prosecution witnesses to compromise Kenyan cases.
Mr Gicheru will appear before the Pre-Trial Chamber Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou.
During tomorrow’s proceedings, the accused will be informed of the crimes he is alleged to have committed, his rights under the Rome Statute, and the procedure to be followed regarding the confirmation of charges.
The prosecution alleges Mr Gicheru has responsibility for offences against the administration of justice.
He is on trial alongside Philip Bett who is still on the run since March 10 2015, when Pre-Trial Chamber II issued warrants of arrest against the two.
The prosecution accuses the two of a systematic criminal scheme, aimed at approaching and corrupting six prosecution witnesses in the Kenyan cases, through bribes and other inducements, in exchange for withdrawing as witnesses and/or recanting their prior statements to the prosecution.
Mr Gicheru surrendered himself to Dutch authorities on November 2, and he was transferred to the ICC’s detention centre the following day.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Chamber directed that the hearing shall be held on a partially virtual basis.
Mr Gicheru shall appear by video-link technology from the Court’s detention centre.
“A hearing for the initial appearance of Mr Gicheru to be convened on Friday, 6 November 2020, at 16:00 hours, in Courtroom 1, at which Mr Gicheru shall appear by video-link technology from the Court’s detention centre,” reads an order issued by the judge dated November 4.
The registry was ordered to make the necessary arrangements to organise the hearing accordingly.
The judge also authorised the ICC photographer to take photographs in the courtroom at the start of the initial appearance hearing after all persons present have taken their seats for no longer than one minute and a half.
The Chamber noted regulations provide that ‘all hearings shall be held in public’ and that ‘the publicity of hearings may extend beyond the courtroom’ respectively.
On November 2, the Pre-Trial Chamber II had requested the President of the Pre-Trial Division to constitute a chamber composed of one judge to exercise the functions and powers of the Pre-Trial Chamber in the case.
The President of the Pre-Trial Division then constituted the present Chamber to promptly convene the proceedings.
“The Chamber notes that, according to article 60(1) of the Statute and rules 121(1) and 163(1) of the Rules, a person subject to a warrant of arrest under article 58 of the Statute ‘shall appear before the Pre-Trial Chamber, in the presence of the Prosecutor, promptly upon arriving at the Court’ so as to be informed of the crimes he or she is alleged to have committed, his or her rights under the Statute, and the procedure to be followed regarding the confirmation of charges,” the court papers read.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda welcomed the voluntary surrender by Mr Gicheru and urged Kenyan authorities to surrender the other two suspects, Mr Bett and Walter Barasa.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Ebrahim Hamid | AFP
Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II had also issued an arrest warrant against Mr Barasa on August 2 2013 on charges of interfering with ICC witnesses.
“Collectively, these warrants of arrest against Messrs Gicheru, Bett and Barasa underscore my unwavering commitment to using measures available to me under the Rome Statute, to the extent possible, to safeguard the integrity of the Court's proceedings,” Ms Bensouda said.
“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,” she said.
She went on: “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”.
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