Arusha, October 11, 2013 (FH) – Lawyers for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop his trial for crimes against humanity, saying it was tainted with serious abuse of process.

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In a request to Kenyatta’s judges, his lawyers say they have “substantial evidence of a serious, sustained and wide-ranging abuse on the process of the court” carried out by prosecution witnesses and a prosecution intermediary. They provide extensive transcripts of telephone conversations.

British lawyers Stephen Kay and Gillian Higgins point the finger particularly at protected prosecution witness OTP-118 and a prosecution intermediary (name removed from the public version of the document), accusing them of intimidating and interfering with defence witnesses, including offering money for a change of testimony. They also say that the “conspiracy” masterminded by OTP-118 undermines the credibility of ten other prosecution witnesses and that “the Prosecution is presiding over an utterly corrupt and dishonest case”. They say a fair trial is no longer possible and the case should be dropped, or at least an evidentiary hearing on the issue held before the trial.

The Kenyan President is scheduled to go on trial before the ICC on November 12. Kenyatta is facing charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in 2007-2008 post-election violence. Deputy President William Ruto faces similar charges in a trial that started before the ICC on September 10.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has long complained that prosecution witnesses are being intimidated in the Kenya cases. On October 2 the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant against a Kenyan citizen, Walter Barasa, for “corruptly influencing or attempting to corruptly influence” prosecution witnesses.