The International Criminal Court, ICC, has dropped all charges against Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, highlighting the tribunal’s difficulties in bringing to justice high-ranking officials it has accused of atrocities.
Chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on Friday filed a notice withdrawal of the allegations against Kenyatta, accusing the Kenyan government of harassing and intimidating potential witnesses.
“Given the state of the evidence in this case, I have no alternative but to withdraw the charges against Mr. Kenyatta. I am doing so without prejudice to the possibility of bringing a new case should additional evidence become available,” ” the Gambian lawyer explained.
He added, “This is a painful moment for the men, women and children who have suffered tremendously from the horrors of the post-election violence, and who have waited, patiently, for almost seven years to see justice done.”
Kenyatta had been charged with crimes against humanity including murder, rape, persecution and deportation as an “indirect co-perpetrator” in violence that flared after Kenya’s 2007 elections, leaving more than 1,000 people dead.
Reacting to the news on Friday, Kenyatta said he was excited and said that case against his deputy, William Ruto, and another Kenyan be dropped as well.
Kenyatta’s British lawyer, Steven Kay, said the court and its prosecutors owe Kenyatta an apology for bringing proceedings based upon false witnesses and impugning his integrity.
Kenyatta’s trial was postponed twice this year while prosecutors attempted to shore up their case after one of their key witnesses refused to testify and another admitted giving false evidence.
The collapse of the case is a new blow to the credibility of the court’s prosecution office.