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ICC drops charges against Uhuru Kenyatta

Charges of crimes against humanity against Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta have been withdrawn by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Uhuru Kenyatta had been indicted in connection with post-election ethnic violence in 2007-2008, in which 1,200 people died.

The president, who had denied the charges, said he felt “vindicated”.

The prosecutor’s office said the Kenyan government had refused to hand over evidence vital to the case.

Uhuru Kenyatta said he was “excited” and “relieved” at the dropping of charges.

“My conscience is absolutely clear,” he said, adding that his case had been “rushed there without proper investigation”.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said her government would try to have two other similar cases thrown out including one involving Deputy President William Ruto.

“As they say, one case down, two more to go,” Uhuru Kenyatta said on Twitter.

Photo AP

Photo AP

On December 3, the ICC had given prosecutors a week to decide whether to pursue their case against Uhuru Kenyatta or withdraw charges.

Further delays in the case would be “contrary to the interests of justice”, it had said.

On December 5, prosecutors said the evidence had “not improved to such an extent that Uhuru Kenyatta’s alleged criminal responsibility can be proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

Many observers had seen the case against Uhuru Kenyatta as the biggest test in the court’s history.

He was the first head of state to appear before the court, after he was charged in 2012.

The prosecution repeatedly asked for more time to build its case, saying witnesses had been bribed and intimidated, and the Kenyan government had refused to hand over documents vital to the case.

Human Rights Watch had accused the Kenyan government of acting as a roadblock and “impairing the search for truth”.

Uhuru Kenyatta denied inciting ethnic violence following the disputed 2007 elections in order to secure victory for then-President Mwai Kibaki.

He has repeatedly accused the ICC of pursuing a political prosecution.

On December 5, Uhuru Kenyatta again criticized the legal process, saying: “The prosecutor opted to selectively pursue cases in a blatantly biased manner that served vested interests and undermined justice.

“As a result, the court has had to pay a steep reputational price, which it will continue to face unless a serious and systemic rethinking of the international justice framework is undertaken.”

Uhuru Kenyatta won Kenya’s presidential elections in 2013, with the backing of Mwai Kibaki.

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