Lawyer Paul Gicheru is now demanding that Judge Miatta Maria Samba of the International Criminal Court (ICC) recuses herself from the case.
Gicheru says that Samba worked for the International Criminal Court’s Office of The Prosecutor (OTP) between 2006 and 2010 under Luis Moreno Ocampo, and could have been involved in the investigation of some Kenyan cases.
Gicheru is facing a case entailing several counts of witness interference and corruption in the collapsed case against Deputy President William Ruto in the ICC.
Gicheru’s lawyer Michael Karnavas says that Samba could have forehand information in the case emanating from the investigations and contact with the alleged witnesses.
“On July 22, 2021, the defence was notified of the presidency’s decision constituting Trial Chamber III with Judge Samba as the Single Judge. Immediately, as part of its professional and ethical duty of diligence to investigate issues that may impact on Mr Gicheru’s right to a fair trial, the Defence reviewed Judge Samba’s official Curriculum Vitae, Statement of Qualifications, response to the Advisory Committee on Nomination of Judges’ questionnaire, and public profiles and interviews found online,” says Mr Karnavas.
Samba worked as a Field Operations Officer in the Uganda Field Office, providing assistance to investigators from the OTP in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
She said that her primary duty was to manage witnesses of the OTP, most of whom were vulnerable witnesses and victims of sexual violence.
Gicheru now wants names of witnesses in the Ruto and Journalist Joshua Sang cases that Judge Samba interacted with, including the times, locations, and nature of the interactions.
He is also seeking to know whether Judge Samba handled any evidence, reports, or communications regarding the cases against Ruto and Sang.
Gicheru surrendered to Dutch authorities on November 2, 2020, despite a High Court order freezing a warrant of arrest against him.
In an interview with The Standard at his Nairobi office, Gicheru said surrendering to The Hague-based Court was a personal decision to clear his name following a warrant of arrest issued against him in 2015 over claims of interfering with witnesses in the Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang case.
According to the prosecution, Gicheru corruptly influenced six witnesses who were set to testify against Ruto by paying bribes and drawing affidavits they used to recant their testimony to the ICC.
The chairman of the Export Processing Zone Authority maintained that he was not influenced by anyone to turn himself in adding that fixing the second in command as alleged was mere speculation that should be ignored.
Ruto and Sang were among six high profile Kenyans, who were charged with instigating violence after a disputed 2007 election that left at least 1,200 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. The case was vacated in 2016.