How Ruto’s ICC Case Will Change After Gicheru Complication

  • The fate of the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua Sang remains unclear after the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed charges against lawyer Paul Gicheru.

    The two cases were suspended in 2016 after the ICC found there was insufficient evidence to get a conviction. The prosecutor, however, noted that they could be reopened if and when new evidence emerged. 

    The case against Gicheru appears to directly link the DP to the alleged witness intimidation – with some experts opining that the new developments could see the main case reopened.

    However, there is no consensus on the matter as other lawyers involved in the ICC cases stated it was highly unlikely that the evidence in the two cases could be related. 

    ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (left) and Deputy President William Ruto (right).
    ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (left) and Deputy President William Ruto (right).

    Speaking to, former victims’ lawyer Wilfred Nderitu stated that the recalling of DP Ruto’s case was dependent on the approach taken by the prosecution.

    He stated that the court decided to prosecute the case on its own or link it to the case against Ruto. Should the second approached be used, then the DP will have a case to answer.

    However, he explained that the evidence presented by the prosecution against Gicheru are being used in limited context and cannot be used against Ruto as the charges against the former and the latter are different.

    “Any evidence or witnesses presented before the court by the prosecution against the DP will have to be presented afresh,” Nderitu stated.

    Speaking to NTV on Sunday, July 26, lawyer Eunice Lamalla stated that the case against Gicheru can be connected to DP Ruto’s case depending on how his trial pans out. She explained that although the cases against Ruto and Sang were terminated, it did not mean that the two were acquitted.

    She explained the court still had jurisdiction to continue with investigations, gather information and look at witnesses. The lawyer, however, expressed doubts on the legibility of using witnesses who had recused themselves from the case.

    Lamalla also faulted Gicheru for choosing to defend himself in court as he may lose objectivity.

    ICC issued a warrant of arrest for Gicheru in 2015. He however contested the warrant at the High Court which ruled that he should not surrender himself to the international court. In addition, the state was barred from taking any measures to submit him to the ICC.

    Pre-Trial Chamber A composed of Judge Sophie Alapini-Gansou committed Gicheru to trial based on the evidence and submissions by the prosecutors. The Chamber found that there were substantial grounds to believe that the lawyer committed offences against administration of justice between April 2013 and September 2015.
    He was accused of allegedly contacting witnesses, offering or paying the, financial benefits or intimidated them to withdraw as prosecution witnesses.

    According to the court, they allegedly had an ultimate goal of undermining the prosecutions case against Ruto and Sang.

    The evidence against Gicheru claims that the accused was answerable to Ruto and his other aides who offered money and threats to critical witnesses. The DP has not responded to the fresh claims. 

    Lawyer Paul Gicheru when he appeared before the ICC via video-link from the ICC Detention Centre on November 6, 2020
    Paul Gicheru when he appeared before the ICC via video-link from the ICC Detention Centre on November 6, 2020
    The Standard