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Kenyan lawyer in court accused of witness intimidation and bribery

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Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru sat before the International Criminal Court at the Hague to face accusations of bribing and interfering with witnesses in a case related to post-electoral violence in eastern Kenya in 2007 and 2008.

Sitting before the judges the defendant denied the allegations and claimed innocence.

"Madame President, for the record, I plead not guilty", said Paul Gicheru, Kenyan lawyer and defendant on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Gicheru is accused of paying significant amounts of money to ICC witnesses as well as incurring in intimidation in a case against Deputy President William Ruto.

Speaking for the prosecution, James Steward, ICC deputy chief prosecutor, added:

"The investigation and prosecution of William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang was beset from the outset with witness interference and intimidation problems which continued up to and throughout the trial. The evidence gathered in the investigation will show that the accused managed and coordinated a scheme to identify, locate and corruptly influence actual and potential prosecution witnesses. This was done through a combination of bribery and intimidation. The actions of the accused and his associates led directly to the withdrawal and recanting of no less than four vital prosecution witnesses in the Ruto and Sang case".

The disputed 2007 elections in Kenya fuelled tribal violence involving bows, arrows and machetes that killed an estimated 1,100 people.

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