Why did Kharim Khan excuse self from lawyer Gicheru’s ICC case?

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ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan last month excused himself from a case involving journalist Paul Gicheru who is currently at the Hague-based International Criminal Court over claims of witness tampering in a case involving Deputy President William Ruto. Khan, who was William Ruto’s lead counsel at the international court was in June this year sworn in as the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Given his current position, on 28 June 2021, the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC advised the Pre-Trial Chamber handling the Paul Gicheru case, that Mr. Khan had recused himself from the proceedings in the case as required by Article 42(7) of the Rome Statute.

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”Neither the Prosecutor nor a Deputy Prosecutor shall participate in any matter in which their impartiality might reasonably be doubted on any ground. They shall be disqualified from a case if, inter alia (among other reasons), they have previously been involved in any capacity in that case before the Court or in a related criminal case at the national level involving the person being investigated or prosecuted,” a section of the article reads.


Does this have any consequences on the case, given he was William Ruto’s lead counsel at the time of the case?

Online reports indicate, despite Khan being the current Prosecutor of the ICC, one of the consequences will be not having access to any non-public evidence submitted in the record of the case. Mr. Khan will also not have access to any non-public filings in the record of the case, as well as not being involved in any discussion or decision on any substantial or administrative level related to the case.


Read: ICC: How William Ruto was directly involved in witness tampering

A new filing by Fatou Bensouda indicates Paul Gicheru’s office landline was among the different phones used to coerce and convince the witnesses.

Before she retired, former ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for the first time revealed to the public the ICC had been Eldoret lawyer Paul Gicheru’s trial since 2018, after an interview with two Hague detectives in Nairobi, that year in September on issues of witness tampering and intimidation over William Ruto’s ICC case.

Lawyer Paul Gicheru handed himself over to the Hague based court in November last year.

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