ICC prosecutors drop charges against Kenya′s Kenyatta | News | DW | 05.12.2014

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ICC prosecutors drop charges against Kenya's Kenyatta

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has dropped charges of crimes against humanity against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. The collapse of the case is a severe blow to the court's credibility.

The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Friday withdrew all charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta alleging crimes aginst humanity committed during post-election violence in his country in 2007-2008.

In a document filed at the court, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there was not enough evidence to prove Kenyatta's involvement in the crimes "beyond reasonable doubt."

The announcement highlights the problems faced by the court, set up in 2002 to probe grave crimes across the world, in bringing to justice powerful figures that it has accused of involvement in atrocities.

Since its establishment, the court has launched nine full investigations - all of them in Africa - that have resulted in the arrests of just five suspects.

Prosecution under pressure

Earlier this week, judges at the court gave prosecutors a week to strengthen their case against Kenyatta or drop the charges, saying a trial could not be postponed again.

Kenyatta's trial has already been postponed twice this year after a key prosecution witness refused to testify and another admitted giving false evidence.

The Kenyan president had faced charges including murder, rape, persecution, deportation and carrying out other other inhumane acts as an "indirect co-perpetrator" in conncection with violence that erupted after Kenya's 2007 elections. More than 1,200 people died and 600,000 were displaced in the unrest.

Unfair bias?

His rival-turned-partner William Ruto has been on trial at the ICC on similar charges since September 2013.

Kenya and leaders of other African nations had often called for the charges to be withdrawn, saying the ICC focused unduly on their continent in its investigations.

Kenyatta was indicted in 2011 but went on to become the president of Kenya in a 2013 election.

The ICC has no police force and relies on help from governments to bring alleged perpetrators of atrocities to justice.

tj/ksb (AP, AFP)