Home > News > World
Friday January 24, 2014 MYT 1:50:02 AM
Friday January 24, 2014 MYT 1:50:51 AM
by thomas escritt
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday scrapped a planned February 5 start date for the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta after prosecutors asked for more time to strengthen their case.
Kenyatta is accused of orchestrating ethnic violence that swept Kenya after elections in 2007 in which about 1,200 people were killed, but the case against him has been weakened by several key prosecution witnesses withdrawing their testimony.
The case against Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto - who was his opponent at the time of the clashes - is seen by many Africans as part of a pattern of the ICC singling out leaders from their continent for prosecution.
Since being elected president in March, Kenyatta has rallied African allies around a lobbying effort to have the charges against him dropped or his trial deferred.
In a ruling published on Thursday, ICC judges cancelled the trial's start date and called a meeting of all trial participants to be held on that day instead, at which defence lawyers are expected to call for the case to be thrown out.
Prosecutors announced the loss of the latest witness in December and asked for the trial to be postponed, prompting speculation that the case was close to collapse and fuelling calls in Africa for the charges against Kenyatta to be dropped.
The Kenyan government says the ICC's charges risk destabilising East Africa's economic powerhouse and the wider region at a time when it faces a growing threat from Islamist militants in Somalia.
The ICC, set up in 2003 to prosecute those accused of the worst international crimes, has only brought cases against Africans so far and has had very limited success in bringing its prosecution targets to book.
The ICC has scored just one conviction in its first decade, with weaknesses in witnesses' testimony often to blame for cases collapsing even before they came to trial. Prosecutors have alleged that witnesses against Kenyatta and Ruto have been threatened or blackmailed into withdrawing.
Other high-profile suspects the court is attempting to try, including Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan leader, are beyond its reach as their countries refuse to hand them over.
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
Hague court says Kenyan vice president must attend parts of trial
Hague court may try Kenyan vice president in Africa
Trial of Kenyan president likely to be delayed until next year
Hague court postpones Kenyatta trial again
Kenyan president's Hague trial halted in blow to war crimes court
Mexico's embattled government poised to unveil law and order measures
More U.S. troops deployed in Ferguson to guard against fresh riots
Exclusive: U.S. to leave more troops in Afghanistan than first planned - sources
Yemeni forces free eight al Qaeda hostages; U.S. says no Americans
Hong Kong police begin clearing major protest site
Sierra Leone Ebola burial workers dump bodies in pay protest
Take an idea and make it happen at the Maker Faire
Chelsea qualify in style with five-goal romp
Eleven more spectacular places!
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)