Paul Gicheru is a qualified advocate of the High Court of Kenya. On 10 September 2015, the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed an arrest warrant against Gicheru and another Kenyan, Phillip Kipkoech Bett also known as “Kipseng’erya”.
The arrest warrant was initially issued under seal on 10 March 2015 by the then trial chamber judge, Ekaterina Trendafilova, who has since retired.
Pre-Trial Chamber II made the arrest warrant against Paul Gicheru and Bett public following their arrest by Kenyan police in Nairobi on 30 July 2015. In accordance with Kenyan law, the two were arrested and presented before a Judge of the High Court of Kenya in the execution of the ICC’s request for their arrest and surrender to
Following their arrest, the ICC felt that “the confidentiality of the document was no longer justified”. According to the ICC, Paul Gicheru and Bett are wanted for “offenses against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing prosecution witnesses”.
Specifically, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wants to put Paul Gicheru and Bett on trial for influencing six of her witnesses to stop cooperating with her office by using inducements that included money and jobs.
The prosecutor says Gicheru – acting together with Bett and Walter Barasa, another Kenyan also wanted by the ICC – was the head of a scheme to bribe prosecution witnesses. Paul Gicheru allegedly also acted as the scheme’s paymaster.
The Indictment says Bett and Barasa, acted as Paul Gicheru’s assistants in the scheme by contacting the witnesses and facilitating the bribes. Gicheru is the only Kenyan lawyer so far who has been criticized at the ICC. His actions have even attracted the ire of Ruto’s lead lawyer at the ICC, Karim Khan, who reportedly warned him against misrepresenting himself as acting for his client.
In Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji’s partly concurring opinion in the ruling that allowed Bensouda to use the prior recorded testimony of five uncooperative prosecution witnesses, Paul Gicheru is believed to be the Kenyan lawyer who was admonished by Khan:
“We have received allegations from various sources that you are holding yourself out as being a member or otherwise associated with the defense team of H E William Ruto. This is of course, not correct.
You have absolutely no involvement in my team nor have you been tasked directly or indirectly by H E William Ruto to have any involvement in the ICC case or with any putative witness (whether for the Prosecution or for the Defence).
This has been confirmed by H E William Ruto himself.” Like other Kenyan lawyers who have rendered services in connection to the Kenyan cases at the ICC, Paul Gicheru has been rewarded with a plum parastatal job. In 2014, the head of Kenya’s National Treasury, Henry Rotich, appointed him to head the Public Procurement Review Board up to 2 October 2016.