NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has filed a notice to withdraw the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In the filing made on Friday, Bensouda said the evidence she has cannot sustain the charges beyond reasonable doubt.
“In light of the Trial Chamber’s 3 December 2014 decision on Prosecution’s application for a further adjournment, the Prosecution withdraws the charges against Mr Kenyatta,” Bensouda says in her application.
She went on to explain that “the evidence has not improved to such an extent that Mr Kenyatta’s alleged criminal responsibility can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.”
She said for this reason – and in light of the Trial Chamber’s rejection of the Prosecution’s request for an adjournment until the Government of Kenya complies with its cooperation obligations under the Rome Statute – prosecutors had no option but to withdraws the charges.
She however says the option of filing fresh charges against President Kenyatta at a later stage remains open.
“As noted by the Trial Chamber this withdrawal is without prejudice to the possibility of bringing new charges against Mr Kenyatta at a later date based on the same or similar factual circumstances should (the prosecution) obtain sufficient evidence to support such a course of action,” Bensouda pointed out.
Trial Chamber V (b) judges on Wednesday gave Bensouda a seven-day ultimatum to tell the court if she was ready to proceed with the trial against Kenyatta and rejected her application in which she wanted the Government of Kenya referred to the Assembly of State Parties over failed cooperation in submitting evidence required in the case.
The judges explained that Bensouda should have raised the concerns over failed cooperation at earlier stages of the case.
They were also sceptical that information that would be received from the government would in any way strengthen the prosecution’s case against President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta was the sole accused person in Kenya Case II after charges against his two co-accused were withdrawn.
The case against former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali was dropped at the confirmation of charges hearings, while that facing former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura was dropped at the post-confirmation stage after the only witness the prosecution had relied on to confirm his charges said he had lied to the court.