Statement: 4 November 2020

Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, following the voluntary surrender and transfer to the Court of Paul Gicheru in relation to alleged offences against the administration of justice in the Kenya Situation


I welcome the news of Mr Paul Gicheru's voluntary surrender and transfer to the custody of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court").

On the 9th of February 2015, my Office requested the judges of the Court's Pre-Trial Chamber II to issue a warrant of arrest for Mr Gicheru, on charges of interfering with ICC witnesses in the Kenya Situation, contrary to the Rome Statute.

On the 10th of March 2015, the judges issued a warrant of arrest for Mr Gicheru. In their decision, they found that the evidence presented by my Office established reasonable grounds to believe that Messrs Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett were involved in an organized and systematic criminal scheme, aimed at approaching and corrupting six Prosecution witnesses, through bribes and other inducements, in exchange for withdrawing as witnesses and/or recanting their prior statements to the Prosecution.

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.

Interfering with the attendance or testimony of ICC witnesses, or retaliating against them are serious crimes under Article 70 of the Rome Statute.

It bears recalling that on the 2nd of August 2013, the judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II issued an arrest warrant for Mr Walter Osapiri Barasa on charges of interfering with ICC witnesses, contrary to Article 70(1)(c) of the Rome Statute.

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.

The Court's judicial proceedings will now follow in accordance with the requirements of the Statute, and with full respect for the due process rights of the suspect, under the guidance and authority of the ICC's judges.

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.

I am grateful for the cooperation of all those who contributed to this successful transfer to the Court, in particular, the Kingdom of The Netherlands and colleagues from the Registry of the Court.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC's jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali; Georgia, Burundi Bangladesh/Myanmar and Afghanistan (subject to a pending article 18 deferral request). The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bolivia; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine; and Venezuela (I and II), while the situation in Palestine is pending a judicial ruling.

For further details on "preliminary examinations" and "situations and cases" before the Court, click here, and here

Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: [email protected]