Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyers on Wednesday asked that the International Criminal Court (ICC) drop the case against the leader for crimes against humanity and acquit him, arguing that the prosecution does not have adequate evidence to prove its case.

Highlights

  • Kenyatta was charged in March 2011 with five counts of crimes against humanity as an indirect co-perpetrator of the violence following Kenya’s 2007 elections, which led to more than 1,100 deaths
  • Kenyatta’s appearance at The Hague made him the first sitting president to do so.
  • He voluntarily handed over power to his deputy to appear before the ICC in his personal capacity
  • Almost 100 Kenyan members of parliament were present in the various public viewing galleries for the hearing on Wednesday

Full story

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, made an unprecedented appearance at The Hague on Wednesday, as the first sitting president to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On Tuesday, Kenyatta invoked a never-before-used article of the constitution, handing over power temporarily to Deputy President William Ruto to enable him appear at The Hague in his personal capacity.

Kenyatta and Ruto, who were on opposing sides of the 2007-08 conflict, formed a political alliance that won the presidency last year and a majority in parliament after they were indicted for crimes against humanity.

Charges

The leader was charged in March 2011 with five counts of crimes against humanity as an indirect co-perpetrator of the violence following Kenya’s 2007 elections, which led to more than 1,100 deaths.

While prosecutors now admit that they do not have enough evidence to prosecute Kenyatta, they insist that the situation is the result of the government obstructing their investigation by refusing to turn over certain records and other potential evidence.

Prosecution lawyer, Ben Gumpert, told judges the Kenyan government had not handed over phone records and three years of bank records the prosecution needed to corroborate witnesses’ testimony that Kenyatta had approached them to “finance or ultimately coordinate that violence”.

But Kenyatta’s lawyers insist that the move is designed to cover up the ICC’s lack of evidence to prosecute the case.

Adjournments

Prosecution lawyers called on Wednesday for an exceptional ‘indefinite adjournment’ in the case which has been adjourned several times before.

In September, the ICC decided to adjourn Kenyatta’s trial indefinitely , though it was resumed by the ICC’s summons later that month. The ICC also adjourned the trial in April, following similar measures in February and January.

Solidarity

Almost 100 Kenyan members of parliament were present in the various public viewing galleries for the hearing on Wednesday

African leaders have joined together to speak out against Kenyatta’s trial, and in February the African Union called for African countries to”speak with one voice” against the trials of sitting heads of state by the ICC.

It is widely perceived that the institution is biased as every one of its cases has targeted an African nation.

NP/The Jurist/Aljazeera

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PS: Do you think the ICC is biased?

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