Lawyer Paul Gicheru is now facing hurdles in his bid to have the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, grant him conditional release from detention after Kenya said it will not cooperate with the court on the matter.
Attorney General Kihara Kariuki told the court, in a letter dated November 24, that the lawyer went against “a binding decision” of the High Court dated November 16, 2017, that had frozen the ICC’s arrest warrants against the lawyer and his co-accused Phillip Bett on allegations of witness tampering.
In the letter addressed to presiding judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou, the AG further stated that Gicheru contravened the International Crimes Act that required him to notify the High Court in Nairobi about his intention to turn himself in.
But the AG noted that the lawyer has a chance to redeem himself by notifying the High Court which can then lift or vary the arrest warrant against him.
If he does that, the AG said, the government will review its current position.
“In view of the foregoing, and by dint of the existing High Court order as mentioned hereinabove, Kenya observes that it may not, at this point in time, be able to accord the court the assistance contemplated in Rule 119(1) of the Court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, unless the said order is lifted or otherwise varied,” said the AG.
The court had sought the government’s views on Gicheru’s request to be released from custody following his move to surrender on November 2.
The court wanted the government to give certain undertakings to “enforce one or more conditions restricting liberty the Chamber could potentially impose.”
These conditions include barring Gicheru from traveling abroad without the explicit agreement of the Chamber, visiting certain places or associate with certain persons as specified by the Pre-Trial Chamber, contacting victims or witnesses directly or indirectly, engaging in certain professional activities, ensuring he resides at a particular address as specified by the Chamber, and honouring summons by an authority or a qualified person designated by the Chamber.
“In this regard, the Chamber specifically requests Kenya to provide observations as to its willingness and ability to facilitate the possibility of Mr. Gicheru traveling between Kenya and the Netherlands for the purposes of the proceedings in the present case,” the presiding judge requested.
Gicheru is accused of corruptly influencing witnesses leading to the collapse of the crimes against humanity case against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.
The two were charged with instigating violence after a disputed 2007 election when 1,200 people lost their lives. The case was vacated in 2016.
The judges in the ICC case ruled that the DP and his co-accused had no case to answer.
However, they left the door open for possible fresh charges in future if sufficient evidence is tabled, noting that the case had been hampered by political interference and threats against witnesses.