ICC to review case against Kenya's President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta


Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta casts his vote at the Mutomo primary school in Kiambu on March 4, 2013.


Simon Maina

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will hold a special hearing to review charges against Kenya's president-elect, the BBC reported.

Uhuru Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged part in the violence that killed more than 1,000 people and left over 600,000 homeless in the wake of Kenya's 2007 elections. 

A similar case against former cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura, Kenyatta's co-accused, was dropped last week. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said witnesses were afraid to testify, and one witness recanted a statement.

"We do not feel that we have a reasonable prospect of conviction and therefore withdraw the charges against him," Bensouda told judges, according to the Associated Press.

Now Kenyatta's lawyers will call for the ICC to postpone or drop the case against him, an unnamed lawyer with knowledge of the case told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"The collapse of the case against Muthaura has a profound impact on the viability of the prosecution's case against Kenyatta," the lawyer said.

But prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said after Muthaura's case was dropped that the recanted testimony would not alter Kenyatta's case, and that more evidence was available to them. 

The special hearing will begin on Monday, where it is expected Kenyatta's lawyers will push ICC judges to decide if there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial, the BBC reported.

“A status conference shall be held on March 18, 2013, starting at 15:00 (Hague time). The main purpose of the status conference is to discuss the application filed by the defense for Kenyatta on Feb. 5 and the consequences of the withdrawal of the charges against Muthaura for the case against Kenyatta,” Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki said