ICC prosecutor seeks to adjourn Uhuru trial
Posted Saturday, December 21 2013 at 02:00
The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has asked for an adjournment in the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ms Fatou Bensouda said the loss of two key witnesses meant the case currently “does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards required”.
The trial was due to begin in February.
In a statement, Ms Bensouda said a key witness had recently indicated he was no longer willing to testify and another witness admitted “giving false evidence regarding a critical event in the Prosecution’s case”. She said she now needed time to complete efforts to obtain additional evidence, and to consider whether such evidence will enable her office to “fully meet the evidentiary threshold required at trial.”
Addressing “the people of Kenya”, she said “my decision... was not taken lightly... I have and will continue to do all that I can to realise justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence”.
The trial of Mr Kenyatta had been due to begin on November 12 but was put back until February after September’s terror attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi that left at least 67 people dead.
African leaders had been lobbying for the case to be delayed until Mr Kenyatta is no longer in office, saying the trial would make it impossible for him to run the country. The African Union has accused the ICC of unfairly targeting the continent’s leaders. But a resolution to suspend the trial was rejected by the UN Security Council last month.
The trial of his deputy, William Ruto, began in September, although it was adjourned for a week so that he could return to Kenya to deal with the aftermath of the Westgate attack.