PROSECUTOR BENSOUDA ASKS FOR MORE TIME
The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked judges to postpone the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta to give her more time to collect evidence in a development that is a major setback to the court, which has seen a string of high-profile cases collapse,
In a statement released yesterday Fatou Bensouda said she could not go on with the case after a witness withdrew and another admitted to lying.
NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE
“Currently the case against Mr Kenyatta does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards required at trial,” she said. Bensouda said she would continue to attempt to gather evidence against Kenyatta and would later decide if any new evidence was strong enough to merit a trial.
Bensouda said investigations in Kenya had posed “many challenges”. She has previously alleged that prosecution witnesses were intimidated or bribed into withdrawing their testimony against Kenyatta.
In an apparent admission that over-reliance on witness testimony has too often proven a weakness in their case, the ICC prosecutors earlier this year requested extra funding to acquire forensic expertise.
“NO CASE” SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL
Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial had been due to start on 5 February. He was accused of promoting ethnic violence after Kenya’s
2007 elections in which some 1,300 people died.
Attorney General Githu Muigai, said the decision to postpone the trial vindicated his belief that there was no case against President Kenyatta.
“There was never any evidence to refer the matter … in the first place and there was no evidence to confirm the charges in the second place and there was no evidence to commence trial in the third place,” Muigai told the Reuters news agency.
AFRICAN, REGIONAL SUPPORT
Since being elected in March of this year, President Kenyatta has worked hard to win support from African allies to support efforts to have the charges against him dropped or deferred. The Kenyan government says the trial of Kenyatta risks destabilising Kenya and the wider region at a time when it faces a growing threat from Islamist militants in neighbouring Somalia.