By Oyintari Ben
Police has informed that a Kenyan attorney facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a case of influencing and intimidating prosecution witnesses in a prior case against Kenya’s freshly elected president, has been found dead.
Earlier this year, Paul Gicheru pled not guilty to all eight counts of obstructing witnesses in the case against William Ruto. The latter had been accused of taking part in violence after the Kenyan election of 2007, which resulted in over 1,000 deaths.
Ultimately, the accusations against Ruto and other defendants—including former President Uhuru Kenyatta—were dismissed as the case unravelled amid claims of witness tampering. Ruto denied the allegations against him.
According to a police report from The Associated Press, the 50-year-old Gicheru’s relatives discovered him unconscious at his house Monday night. The report describes the deceased as a “known diabetic, and high blood pressure patient” as “the body was found lying on the back, clean, casually dressed, and there was no saliva or blood on any body opening.”
How Gicheru passed away was not immediately apparent. The Kenya Human Rights Commission recommended a prompt and thorough investigation, stating that it was “shocked with the tragic news of the premature death.”
Having been sworn in on September 13, Ruto presided over his first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Fadi El Abdallah, a spokesman for the ICC, stated that he was unable to comment on Gicheru’s case and could only speak to the process that must be followed in such situations: “If there is knowledge concerning the death of an accused, a confirmation of this information should be provided to the (trial) chamber, and the chamber issues a decision ending the case.”
Judges are still deliberating on their decisions in this case. A hearing to deliver the verdict has not been scheduled for a date.