Arusha, March 15, 2013 (FH) – The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has withdrawn charges against Kenyan Francis Muthaura for lack of evidence. Meanwhile, prosecutors have appealed against a sentence of 6 years and 8 months handed down by a Dutch court against a woman of Rwandan origin.

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Charges against Muthaura withdrawn: In a request filed Monday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda informed the judges of her decision to withdraw charges against Kenyan former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura. She cited difficulties in the investigation. Some witnesses have died, she said, while others refuse to testify and a key witness has withdrawn  his testimony. Bensouda also blamed the Kenyan government for not cooperating fully. The ICC Prosecutor nevertheless maintains crimes against humanity charges against three other Kenyans, including Uhuru Kenyatta, who was elected President of Kenya on March 4.


Major challenge for ICTR: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda President Vagn Joensen on Tuesday told Hirondelle that finding host countries for ICTR acquitted persons and people who have served their sentences is “one of the biggest challenges” of his mandate. The ICTR has acquitted 12 individuals to date, of whom five have found host countries. The seven others are still living in Arusha, Tanzania, where the Tribunal has its seat. The Tribunal is also providing accommodation for three people who were freed after serving their sentences. Judge Joensen said the issue had been referred to the UN working group on international criminal tribunals.


Prosecutor wants tougher sentence for Yvonne Basebya: The Dutch prosecutor’s office on Wednesday filed an appeal against a sentence of six years and eight months handed down on a woman of Rwandan origin for incitement to genocide. The prosecution argues that Yvonne Basebya was a co-planner of certain massacres during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. On March 1, a Dutch court found her guilty of incitement to genocide. The judges found that she had made hate speeches, but said that was not enough to consider her a co-planner of the massacre of 110 Tutsis in a Kigali church at the beginning of the genocide.


Bemba defence continues: The defence for Congolese senator and former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba will continue presenting its case before the ICC next week, according to the Court calendar. Bemba is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic.

Uwinkindi trial to start in Rwanda: After being twice postponed, the trial of Pastor Jean Uwinkindi is set to start Wednesday before the High Court in Kigali. Uwinkindi is the first ICTR accused to be transferred to Rwanda for trial.