Kenya president seeks to halt ICC criminal proceedings

Kenya president seeks to halt ICC criminal proceedings

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[JURIST] Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [official website; JURIST news archive] on Thursday applied for a permanent stay of the proceedings [text, PDF] in his case before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder], claiming that a fair trial is impossible due to the prosecution’s corrupt witnesses and intermediaries. Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in inciting the violence following the 2007 election [JURIST news archive], which led to more than 1,100 deaths, and his trial is set for November 12. Kenyatta’s written request provides:

Evidence obtained from Defence investigations supports the submission that the foundation of the Prosecution is now so tainted by the illegal actions of OTP-118 and [REDACTED] that it is repugnant to the rule of law and seriously prejudicial to the integrity of the trial process to put Uhuru Kenyatta on trial. It is “unacceptable for justice to embark on its course” as a fair trial is “no longer possible and justice cannot be done.”

Kenyatta requests in the alternative that the Trial Chamber hold an evidential hearing to determine this issue conclusively before the trial begins.

Earlier this month the ICC issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for a man accused of tampering with prosecution witnesses in a case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [ICC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The ICC issued the warrant against Walter Barasa, whom the ICC accuses of attempting to bribe prosecution witnesses and participating in a scheme by Kenyan government officials to interfere with the prosecution. In September Ruto pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges. Also last month Kenya’s National Assembly voted to withdraw from the ICC [JURIST report; JURIST op-ed]. Scholars have made different arguments as to why Kenya’s withdrawal from the ICC would be detrimental [JURIST op-eds] to the African people.