More Breaking News: Adjournment Sought for the Kenyatta Proceedings

We’ve covered in the past (here, here and here) the legal and extra-legal efforts by Kenya and the Kenyan defendants before the ICC to get their case stayed or dismissed.  As readers will recall, the Kenya cases have been marred by consistent and unprecedented allegations of witness tampering, intimidation, and other forms of interference.  Many witnesses along with their families have been relocated within and outside of Kenya, but the intimidation has continued.  Sadly, it turns out that these tactics work. Today, the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, filed a motion seeking an adjournment of the Kenyatta case on the grounds that she can no longer meet the required evidentiary standards following the withdrawal of another prosecution witness from the case.  The details from her statement are below:

In the last two months, one of the Prosecution’s key witnesses in the case against Mr. Kenyatta has indicated that he is no longer willing to testify.  More recently,on 4 December 2013, a key second witness in the case confessed to giving false evidence regarding a critical event in the Prosecution’s case. This witness has now been withdrawn from the Prosecution witness list. Having carefully considered my evidence and the impact of the two withdrawals, I have come to the conclusion that currently the case against Mr. Kenyatta does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards required at trial. I therefore need time to complete efforts to obtain additional evidence, and to consider whether such evidence will enable my Office to fully meet the evidentiary threshold required at trial.

Our pursuit of justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya has faced many challenges. Notwithstanding, my commitment and that of my staff to the pursuit of justice without fear or favour has remained firm. It is precisely because of our dedication and sense of responsibility to the victims in this case that I have asked the Judges presiding over the case for more time to undertake all remaining steps possible to strengthen the case to ensure justice for the victims.

To the people of Kenya, my decision to apply for an adjournment today was not taken lightly and I have explained fully to the Judges the reasons for my exceptional decision. I have and will continue to do all that I can to realise justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.

 

About the Author(s)

Beth Van Schaack

Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights, Stanford Law School; Former Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the U.S. State Department. All views are her own. Follow her on Twitter (@BethVanSchaack).