Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The end of the Kenyatta trial?

I have previously reported on the 'indefinite adjournment' sought by the Prosecution in the ICC's case against Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta. The request followed a worrying trend, discussed in some detail here, where vague concepts such as 'the interests of justice', 'ending impunity', and 'the rights of the international community' are put forward as justification for derogations from the rights of the accused.

A decision of Trial Chamber V(B), issued today, clearly reinstates the fundamental importance of the rights of the accused. It also seems noted the exceptional nature of the measures sought, by emphasising that 'it should have been incumbent upon the parties to thoroughly support [their] requests, by reference not just to the factual circumstances but also to applicable legal standards, principles and authorities.'

Crucially, the Chamber noted that the Prosecution, by its own admission, did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial, some five years after investigations in the Kenya situation opened and almost four years since Kenyatta was named as an accused. On that basis, the Chamber was 'of the view that the appropriate course of action would now be the prompt withdrawal of charges'. It has given the Prosecution a week to file a notice either withdrawing the charges, or declaring that it now has sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. It would seem very likely that Mr Kenyatta will be a free man by Christmas. 

1 comment:

Yvonne McDermott Rees said...

Update: charges dropped: