Arusha, July 18, (FH) – Two witnesses due to testify against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court have pulled out, saying they fear for their security.

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In a document submitted earlier this week, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda informed the judges and defence that she was withdrawing these two witnesses from her list, Hirondelle learned Thursday.

She said it appeared that “Witness 5’s concerns for his security have become too great for him to bear and he has decided to withdraw as a consequence”, as had Witness 426. Parts of the document are redacted to protect the identities of the witnesses.

The Prosecution also announced it is withdrawing another witness, saying that “Witness 334’s evidence is no longer necessary to prove its case”. 

Kenyatta is charged, as an indirect co-perpetrator, with five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, deportation or forcible transfer, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts) committed in post election violence in 2007-2008.

He and his Deputy President William Ruto, who is also charged by the ICC, were elected in March this year, despite the allegations against them. They have so far appeared voluntarily before the Court in The Hague.

Kenyatta is due to be tried jointly with journalist Joshua Sang, and the trial is scheduled to start on November 12.

In March Bensouda had to drop charges against another prominent Kenyan, former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, saying a key witness had recanted evidence while others were “too afraid to testify for the prosecution”.