Deputy President William Ruto’s think tank is putting up a team of top lawyers, some from the opposition to look into the emerging ICC case issue, where the Hague based court has named William Ruto as having been directly involved in witness tampering and interference on a case he was charged, together with journalist Joshua Arap Sang.
According to reports, the legal team being assembled will be looking at the implications of ICC Prosecutor James Steward’s claims that lawyer Paul Gicheru currently at the Hague is criminally responsible for eight counts of corruptly influencing witnesses individually, as a direct perpetrator or jointly with other members of a common plan as a direct co-perpetrator.
This latest development from the ICC means the Deputy President risks being charged with corruptly influencing a witness under Article 70(1)c which could earn him five years in custody for every count.
”The ultimate goal of the Common Plan was to undermine the Prosecution case in the Ruto and Sang case by preventing Prosecution Witnesses,” Prosecutor Stewart said.
The Common Plan involved the identification, location, and contacting of Prosecution Witnesses, and offering and/or paying them financial benefits.
In a 122 paged document, the Prosecutor says Common Plan materialised by April 2013 and continued until at least the close of the Prosecution’s case in Ruto and Sang on September 10, 2015.
Paul Gicheru, Silas Kibet Simatwo, and Isaac Maiyo are named as the key architects and drivers of the Common Plan. There were also Intermediaries between the Managers and Prosecution Witnesses, including Meshack Yebei, Philip Kipkoech and Bett Walter Barasa, all who at some point directly engaged DP Ruto.
“They acted as a link between the funders and/or beneficiaries of the Common Plan, including Ruto, and the Intermediaries and Associates. The Prosecution will establish beyond reasonable doubt that Paul Gicheru is guilty of the charges confirmed by Pre-Trial Chamber,” he added.