ICC drops Uhuru Kenyatta charges for Kenya ethnic violence

_79534048_79534047Uhuru Kenyatta, who was elected president last year, denied orchestrating violence after elections in 2007

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague have said they are withdrawing charges against Kenya’s leader, Uhuru Kenyatta.

A statement said the evidence had “not improved to such an extent that Mr Kenyatta’s alleged criminal responsibility can be proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

President Kenyatta was indicted for crimes against humanity in connection with violence after elections in 2007.

He had denied the charges.

On Wednesday, the court had given prosecutors a week to decide whether to pursue their case or to drop charges.

Further delays in Mr Kenyatta’s case would be “contrary to the interests of justice”, it had said.

‘Bribed and intimidated’

Mr Kenyatta was the first head of state to appear before the court, after he was charged in 2012.

The prosecution repeatedly asked for more time to build its case, saying witnesses had been bribed and intimidated, and the Kenyan government had refused to hand over documents vital to the case.

_79491799_79491798About 600,000 people were forced to flee their homes in the post-election violence

Mr Kenyatta denied inciting ethnic violence following the disputed 2007 elections in order to secure victory for then-President Mwai Kibaki.

He said the ICC case was political.

Mr Kenyatta won presidential elections in 2013, with the backing of Mr Kibaki.

He used the case against him to rally nationalist support by accusing The Hague-based court of meddling in Kenya’s affairs.

Some 1,200 people were killed in the violence in 2007-8 and 600,000 were displaced.

Uhuru Kenyatta

_79535484_79534375
  • Born in 1961, became Kenya’s youngest president
  • Son of the country’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta
  • Heir to one of the largest fortunes in Kenya, according to Forbes magazine
  • Entered politics in 1990s, groomed by ex-President Daniel arap Moi
  • Lost presidential race in 2002 by a large margin to coalition led by Mwai Kibaki
  • Backed Mr Kibaki for re-election in 2007
  • Known as “njamba” or hero in his Kikuyu language
  • Married father of three
  • Hobbies: Football and golf

President Kenyatta’s deputy, William Ruto, is on trial at the ICC on similar charges after his legal team’s efforts to have the case thrown out failed.

He and Mr Kenyatta were on opposing sides during the 2007 election, with Mr Ruto accused of fuelling violence to bolster opposition leader Raila Odinga’s chances of becoming president. He denies the charges.

Mr Ruto subsequently formed an alliance with Mr Kenyatta in the 2013 election, opening the way for him to become deputy president.

Analysts say the dropping of charges against Mr Kenyatta while the case against Mr Ruto continues risks reopening a political rift and upsetting Kenya’s delicate ethnic balance.

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