s for Kenya
n president-elect Uhuru Kenya
tta called for prosecutors at the International Criminal Court
(ICC) to re-consider charges against their client (Reuters)
Lawyers for Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta called for prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to re-consider the position of their client, after charges of crimes against humanity against a co-defendant were dropped for lack of evidence.
Kenyatta won Kenya's presidential election with 50.07 percent of vote last week and is expected to attend court in The Hague in July, accused with orchestrating violence that killed 1,100 people after the 2007 election.
However ICC prosecutors have dropped their case against top Kenyan civil servant Francis Muthaura, 66, who was facing five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and deportation along with Kenyatta in relation to the 2007 bloodshed.
"In light of what the prosecution has said ... they should consider their position honestly in relation to Mr Kenyatta," Kenyatta's lawyer Steven Kay said. "The evidence they are seeking to rely on is utterly flawed ... all their witnesses are utterly flawed."
Due to the ICC allegations, Kenyatta was snubbed by Britain, the US and the UN that refused to congratulate him on the election.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was forced to withdrawn charges against Muthaura because witnesses "have been killed or have died since those events and other witnesses refuse to speak with the prosecution."
It was the first time in ICC 10-year history that prosecution dropped the case so close to trial.
The unprecedented decision came as a key witness admitted lying and taking bribes. Muthaura's staff strongly denied any interference.
Bensouda also blamed the Kenyan government for it "has provided only limited assistance to the prosecution and they have failed to provide the prosecution with access to witnesses or documents that may shed light on Mr Muthaura's case".
"It is absolutely justified and I do recognize that this is not only a courageous but a correct decision," commented Muthaura's lawyer Karim Khan.
Bensouda stressed that the decision to drop charges against Muthaura will not influence prosecution against Kenyatta that is set to continue.
Let me be absolutely clear on one point - this decision applies only to Mr Muthaura," she told the court. "It does not apply to any other case."
"We are all keenly aware of the most recent political developments in Kenya, but these have not ... and cannot have a bearing on the decision that I make as prosecutor," Bensouda added.
"The real victims of the terrible violence in Kenya five years ago are the men, the women, and the children, who were killed, injured, raped, or forcibly displaced from their homes - and whose voices must not be forgotten," she said. "I will not forget them."
However ICC presiding judge Kuniko Ozaki said the announcement "will have consequences not just for the case against Mr Muthaura, but also in some way Mr Kenyatta."
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