Kenyatta war crimes trial: Prosecutor asks for delay after witnesses withdraw in case against Kenyan president

 

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has asked judges to delay the start of the war crimes trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta due to a lack of evidence.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement she needs time to reconsider her case after one key witness decided not to testify and another confessed to giving false evidence “regarding a critical event” in the case.

“Having carefully considered my evidence and the impact of the two withdrawals, I have come to the conclusion that currently the case against Mr Kenyatta does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards required at trial,” she said.

Judges at the court in The Hague, Netherlands must rule whether to grant the adjournment — or perhaps dismiss the case.

Lawyers for Kenyatta have previously petitioned the court for a dismissal, arguing that evidence against Kenyatta was tainted by false testimony. That argument has been bolstered by Bensouda's remarks.

Human rights groups have previously warned that witnesses in the case are being intimidated. Human Rights Watch lawyer Liz Evenson on Thursday called Bensouda's statement “deeply disturbing.”

The move to delay the trial “comes in the context of an unprecedented climate of witness interference that the government has failed to check,” Evenson said.

“We hope the prosecutor will use every appropriate means to continue her investigation” and see if she can proceed, Evenson said.

The prosecutor did not specify a time in which she might be ready to take the case to trial. Kenyatta's trial has been delayed once at the request of the defense, and was due to start on 5 February.

Kenyatta has pleaded innocent to charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, forcible population transfer and persecution, for his alleged role organizing violence after Kenya's 2007 elections that left more than 1,000 people dead by early 2008.

Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding president Jomo Kenyatta, was elected president earlier this year despite his 2011 indictment by the ICC. Popular resistance among Kenyans to the court's authority may have helped his campaign.

African countries accuse the ICC of disproportionately targeting African leaders. The court has indicted only Africans since it was established in 2002, although half of the eight cases it is prosecuting were referred to it by African governments.

Earlier this year, the United Nations declined a request from the African Union to ask the court for a one-year delay of Kenyatta's trial. African leaders said trying Kenyatta, a sitting president, could have a destabilizing influence on the Horn of Africa.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing