Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru will attend the session of the closing statements in his trial at the International Criminal Court via video link on June 27, 2022.
Gicheru, through his lawyer Michael Karnavas, had on June 9, 2022, asked Trial Chamber III’s Judge Miatta Maria Samba to allow him to attend via video technology.
He argued that it would be unreasonable to require Gicheru to appear physically as he would have to travel from Kenya to attend the hearing, which will only last for two hours.
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) did not oppose the request, but asked the judge to require that he be present in the courtroom during the delivery of the judgment. However, Judge Samba said she did not find it necessary to rule on the issue at the moment. “In any case, no request concerning this matter is pending.”
The judge noted that the defence had filed its request at a “relatively late point in time” and reminded it that it has a responsibility to liaise with the Registry to ensure Gicheru’s attendance via video technology.
“Should, for any reason, the presence via video link not be feasible it is the accused’s responsibility to ensure that he can attend the closing statements physically in the courtroom,” she said.
The judge told Gicheru’s defence team and the Registry to inform the court of any impediments to his ability to attend the closing statements via video technology.
Judge Samba noted that the defence did not identify a specific legal basis for its request, instead making “a mere reference to Article 64(2) of the Statute”, and asked it to be more diligent in future submissions.
Gicheru’s trial started on February 15, 2022, and went on until March 24, during which the prosecution presented its eight witnesses, who were all cross-examined by the defence.
The lawyers tried to discredit most of the witnesses and portray them as liars whose testimony could not be trusted, a perception Karnavas tried to perpetuate in subsequent media interviews, including one with Journalists For Justice.
Gicheru is alleged to have been involved in a common plan to undermine the main case in the matter of the Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang by preventing prosecution witnesses and potential witnesses from testifying.