ICC withdraws war crimes charges against Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyan president was accused of fomenting ethnic violence after 2007 election

War crimes prosecutors have withdrawn charges against Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta at the ICC. Photograph: EPA/Daniel Irungu/File photo

War crimes prosecutors have withdrawn charges against Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta at the ICC. Photograph: EPA/Daniel Irungu/File photo

 

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court withdrew their crimes against humanity charges against Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday.

Judges at the Hague-based court had on Wednesday given the prosecution a week to decide whether to proceed with their case against Mr Kenyatta, who was accused of fomenting ethnic violence after the 2007 election, or to withdraw the charges.

“The evidence has not improved to such an extent that Mr Kenyatta‘s alleged criminal responsibility can be proven,” prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a court filing.

War crimes prosecutors said new allegations could be filed if new evidence surfaced.

Prosecutors have said Mr Kenyatta used his political power to obstruct their investigation, especially since becoming president last year.

Mr Kenyatta’s lawyers rejected the accusations.

More evidence

The court did not, however, acquit Mr Kenyatta of the charges, as his lawyers had requested, meaning the charges could be brought again in future if more evidence becomes available.

There was no immediate reaction from Mr Kenyatta.

Fergal Gaynor, counsel for the victims, said in a statement the withdrawal would disappoint the estimated 20,000 victims of the crimes charged in this case.

“It is regrettable that the victims have received almost nothing from the entire ICC process,” he said.

The cases against Mr Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, are the highest-profile proceedings since the court was set up 11 years ago to try cases concerning grave international crimes.

Reuters