Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, a presidential candidate, asked the International Criminal Court to consider dropping the crimes against humanity case against him after the prosecution withdrew key evidence.
Kenyatta requested the pretrial chamber re-examine after the prosecution removed a witness, dubbed “Number Four,” from its list of people who will testify, according to filing submitted to the Hague-based court yesterday by defense lawyers Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins.
The ICC indicted Kenyatta last year for inciting ethnic and political violence after a disputed election in 2007, charges he denies. The decision was based on false testimony and a “flawed analysis of the evidence,” according to the document. Kenyatta is vying for president in the first elections since the 2007 vote, scheduled for March 4.
Besides Kenyatta, former head of cabinet Francis Muthaura is facing the same charges. Kenyatta’s vice-presidential running mate William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang are suspects in a second ICC case related to the post-election clashes. The trials are set to start on April 10 and April 11.
Kenya was wracked by two months of violence sparked by allegations of vote-rigging by supporters of then-opposition leader Raila Odinga, a Luo by tribe who headed the Orange Democratic Movement, in the December 2007 presidential election. The fighting left more than 1,100 people dead.
The unrest subsided after President Mwai Kibaki, leader of the Party for National Unity and a member of the Kikuyu tribe, signed a power-sharing accord that installed Odinga as prime minister of East Africa’s largest economy.
The testimony from witness “Number Four” presented at a pretrial hearing said Kenyatta attended at least two meetings to secure support for his ruling PNU from the Mungiki criminal gang before the 2007 election, according to the statement. Additionally, claims have been expunged from a pretrial brief that Kenyatta held a Jan. 3, 2008, meeting to direct members of the Mungiki to carry out attacks, according to the statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at firstname.lastname@example.org