[JURIST] The International Criminal Court [official website] (ICC) on Friday withdrew charges [decision, PDF] against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was charged with crimes against humanity for inciting post-election violence [JURIST archive] in 2007 and 2008 during which more than 1,000 people died and more than 600,000 were displaced. Although the court is terminating proceedings, the court indicated it could still bring charges Kenyatta in the future with enough evidence. Additionally the court stated that it will retain jurisdiction over review of the case in the future and cases of interference with witnesses or evidence. Prosecutors believe the case failed because of political interference [Reuters report] after Kenyatta’s presidential election in 2013.
African leaders urged [JURIST report] the ICC in February to drop cases against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto or suspend the charges until African concerns are considered by the court. In December prosecutors asked the court to drop charges against Kenyatta. In response to the charges against Kenyatta and Ruto, the African Union (AU) [official website] unanimously resolved [JURIST report] in 2013 that African heads of state should be immune from prosecution by the ICC. Also in 2013 Kenya’s National Assembly approved a motion [JURIST report] to leave the ICC. Last year the AU called [JURIST report] for African countries to “speak with one voice” against the ICC trials of Kenyatta and Ruto.