19 March 2013

Kenya: International Criminal Court Officially Drops Muthaura Case, Ruto Witness Withdraws

The International Criminal Court (ICC) officially dropped all charges against former Kenyan Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura on Monday (March 18th), following ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's withdrawal of the charges last week.

The court dismissed the case after a key witness rescinded testimony against Muthaura after admitting that he was bribed, Kenya's The Standard reported.

President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang are charged with crimes against humanity over their alleged involvement in deadly post-election violence five years ago.

In the same meeting, Trial Chamber V heard arguments regarding Kenyatta's request to have the charges against him re-evaluated. "A common plan to execute crime collapses once the co-perpetrator is withdrawn or shielded," said Kenyatta's lawyer Stephen Kay, according to Kenya's Capital FM.

ICC prosecutors said they would go ahead with their case against Kenyatta. "There is no legal basis why we cannot charge Kenyatta alone even though there was a common plan," prosecution lawyer Adesola Adeboyejo said.

Also on Monday, a witness expected to testify against Ruto withdrew his testimony, saying he was bribed for his assistance with the trial, according to The Standard.

"I would like to state solemnly and swear that all the allegations that are attributed to me in the said interviews and statements are not true," the un-named witness said in a letter sent to the ICC. "To the best of my knowledge, the 2007-2008 violence was spontaneous and was not planned or financed by anyone in Rift Valley, including Henry Kosgei, Joshua Sang and William Ruto."

Sang and Ruto's trials are scheduled to begin May 28th. Kenyatta's trial has been scheduled for July 9th.

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