Int'l court drops Kenyan suspect case

2013-03-11 17:59

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Hague - International Criminal Court prosecutors said on Monday they are dropping their crimes against humanity case against a prominent Kenyan after a key witness admitted lying in his incriminating testimony.

The announcement is an unprecedented admission of failure by prosecutors and the first time in the 10-year-old court's history that they have dropped a case so close to trial.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told judges she is withdrawing all charges against Kenyan Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura, who is charged with crimes including murder, rape and deportation for his alleged involvement in deadly violence that erupted after his country's 2007 presidential election.

Muthaura is indicted with Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, but prosecutors argue they have more evidence against Kenyatta and his prosecution should continue.

"We do not feel that we have a reasonable prospect of conviction and therefore withdraw the charges against him," Bensouda told judges.

Muthaura, who was sitting in court, showed no emotion as Bensouda made her statement.

However, Bensouda stressed that the case against Kenyatta would continue.

"This decision affects Mr Muthaura's case alone," she said.

She said witnesses in the case against Muthaura had either "been killed or have died since those events and other witnesses refuse to speak with the prosecution."

No access

She also accused Kenyan authorities of not living up to their public pledges to fully co-operate with the court in its investigation of violence after the 2007 vote that left more than 1 000 people dead.

The Kenyan government "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."

She also stressed that the decision wasn't linked to Kenya's election last week, in which Kenyatta won the presidency.

"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 said.

Lawyers for Kenyatta are using the hearing to attempt to persuade judges to order a review of evidence that prosecutors say proves he orchestrated deadly postelection violence.

It was not immediately clear if the withdrawal of the Muthaura case would help their cause.

The lawyers say the case should be reviewed because a key prosecution witness lied, fundamentally undermining the prosecution case against him and Muthaura.

Kenyatta won last week's election despite his indictment at the Hague-based court on charges of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and deportation. Prosecutors label him an "indirect co-perpetrator" of violence committed by his supporters in 2007-2008.

Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding father, Jomo Kenyatta, and one of the country's richest men, insists he is innocent.

His trial had been scheduled to start next month, but judges last week postponed it until July, saying the defence needed more time to prepare.

Read more on:    international court of justice  |  kenya  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


8 great natural remedies for your pet

Tips and tricks to cure your pet’s itches and coughs, naturally.



Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
11 animals before and after they were adopted from shelters
Competition pet grooming – creative or too extreme?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.