ICC drops charges against co-accused of Kenya's president-elect Kenyatta

2013-03-11 15:53:19 GMT2013-03-11 23:53:19(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

THE HAGUE, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC), withdrew on Monday the charges of crimes against humanity against a top Kenyan official Francis Muthaura, who is also a co-accused of Kenya's presidential election winner Uhuru Kenyatta.

"This is an exceptional decision," the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda declared in a press release. "I did not take it lightly, but I believe it is the right thing to do."

She named three reasons for the withdrawal. According to prosecution, several witnesses have died, some are too afraid to testify and a key witness was dropped for accepting bribes. She said also that the government of Kenya failed to provide important evidence.

Muthaura was accused of being involved in violence after the disputed presidential elections in late 2007. Together with last weekend's newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as William Ruto and Joshua Sang, he was charged in January 2012 for organizing the violent explosion, which killed at least 1,200 people in two months times during post-election violence. Around 600,000 people were on the run in connection with killings, rapes and other forms of violence.

The chief prosecutor said the decision applies only to Muthaura and not to any other case. Kenyatta will stand trial on similar charges at the ICC later this year.

"While we are all aware of political developments in Kenya, these have no influence, at all, on the decisions that I make as prosecutor of the International Criminal Court," said Bensouda.

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