ICC terminates proceedings against Paul Gicheru

Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday, October 14, 2022 terminated proceedings against former Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru following the confirmation of his passing. According to the ICC legal framework, the Court’s jurisdiction cannot be exercised over a deceased person.

On October 13, 2022, the ICC Registry received a formal communication from the Republic of Kenya confirming the death of the accused. The Chamber believes that this is adequate evidence to prove his death.

“The Chamber considers this sufficient proof to establish the death of the accused,” a press release from ICC reads.

Gicheru was charged with violating the administration of justice by corruptly influencing witnesses in instances involving the Kenyan crisis; the 2007 post-election violence. His trial began on February 15, 2022, and he pleaded not guilty to all counts. The prosecution called 8 witnesses, and the Office of the Prosecutor concluded its presentation of evidence on March 29, 2022.

On April 25, 2022, the Defense declared that no witnesses would be called. The concluding remarks were delivered on June 27, 2022, and Trial Chamber III was now debating whether to convict or acquit.

Gicheru had however denied the claims, pleading not guilty at The Hague-based court, the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal.

Kenyan police said they were investigating Gicheru’s death, which happened roughly three weeks ago after he had a meal with his family; his son was taken to the hospital after complaining of stomach aches after their meal together, according to police.

Gicheru’s family has raised questions on their kin’s untimely death and has called on relevant authorities to give them answers and justice.

Paul Gicheru now joins a group of other Kenyans who were ICC individuals of interest, and died in mysterious circumstances and those who are still on the run. Meshack Yebei’s body was discovered in the Tsavo national park in 2015. Yebei was allegedly kidnapped in late December 2014 at his home in Eldoret, where he had gone to see his family.

Others include Njoroge Gichere, who vanished in 2008, Timothy Mburu Gatira (2008), Njuguna Gitau Njuguna (2009), George Njoroge Wagacha alias “Afco” (2008), Joseph Kang’ethe alias Maina Diambo (2008), and journalist John Kituyi, who was allegedly murdered for reporting on the death of an ICC witness.

Two journalists, Walter Osapiri Barasa and Philip Kipkoech Bett alias “Kipseng’erya,” are still missing. Both were wanted by the ICC for interfering with witnesses.

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