Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru, who surrendered to the International Criminal Court in Hague, Netherlands, early this month, has picked American attorney Michael G Karnavas to represent him in the obstruction of justice case against him.
Gicheru had during his first appearance at ICC on November 6, 2020, told the court that he would represent himself in the case where he is accused of witness interference, claims he has denied.
He is said to have called ICC’s Counsel Support Section on November 17 and informed them that he had settled on Karnavas, who has over 33 years experience in the legal field.
Gicheru will be counting on the lawyer’s experience to clear his name in the court battle with the prosecution team led by Fatou Bensouda.
The Cleveland Marshall College of Law and George Washington graduate has represented high profile individuals including politicians accused of war crimes at the ICC for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
Karnavas was the lead counsel for Jadranko Prlic, then Prime Minister of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg Bosnia.
Prlic was in May 2013 sentenced to 25 years for his role in the Croat-Bosnian war. Some of the convictions against him were upheld by the tribunal’s appeals chamber on November 29, 2017.
The ICC issued a warrant of arrest against Gicheru in 2015 after claims of bribing witnesses in the failed case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang.
The two were charged with instigating violence after a disputed 2007 election when 1,200 people lost their lives. The crimes against humanity case was vacated in 2016.
The judges in the ICC case had in 2016 ruled that the DP and his co-accused had no case to answer.
However, they left the door open for possible fresh charges in future if sufficient evidence is tabled, noting that the case had been hampered by political interference and threats against witnesses.
Gicheru faces a five-year jail term or a fine in accordance with the court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, or both if found guilty of committing crimes against administration of justice.
Gicheru’s co-accused Walter Barasa and Philip Bett are still at large. Bensouda continues to call on Kenyan authorities to surrender them.