[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday denied [judgment, PDF] both the prosecution’s request [text, PDF] for further adjournment and the defense’s request [text, PDF] to terminate the proceedings in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta[ICC case materials; JURIST news archive]. The ICC then instructed the prosecution to file a notice within one week “indicating either (i) its withdrawal of the charges in this case; or (ii) that the evidentiary basis has improved to a degree which would justify proceeding to trial.” The ICC determined that it was best to deny the prosecution’s request because it was not expected that a “fair trial could subsequently ensue” if further adjournment was granted. The court also stated that it would not be in the best interest of justice or the victims for the proceedings to continue “on the speculative basis they have been presented.” The ICC further held that the defense’s request to terminate the proceedings was unclear and that the circumstances did not warrant direct intervention.
Kenyatta has been plagued with many legal problems since he was charged with crimes against humanity for the election-related ethnic killings that occurred in 2007. In October lawyers for Kenyatta asked that the ICC drop the case [JURIST report] against the leader for crimes against humanity and acquit him, arguing that the prosecution did not have adequate evidence to prove its case. Earlier that month the ICC found [JURIST report] that the president must appear in court for his hearing, rejecting a request by the leader to be excused due to scheduling conflicts. In September the ICC decided to adjourn Kenyatta’s trial indefinitely [JURIST report], though the trial 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 [JURIST reports]. In February Kenyan Attorney General Githu Muigai told the ICC that Kenya would not turn over Kenyatta’s financial records [JURIST report] without a court order in compliance with Kenyan law. African leaders have joined together to speak out against Kenyatta’s trial, and in February the African Union [official website] called for African countries to “speak with one voice” [JURIST report] against the trials of sitting heads of state in the ICC.