Arusha, December 20, 2013 (FH) – The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has asked judges to postpone indefinitely the crimes against humanity trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, which had been set for February 5.

1 min 5Approximate reading time

In a statement issued Thursday, Fatou Bensouda said the decision came after one of the prosecution witnesses in the Kenyatta case indicated he was no longer willing to testify and a key second witness this month confessed to giving false evidence. That witness has been withdrawn from her list, she added.Kenyatta is charged in connection with post-election violence in 2007-2008.“Having carefully considered my evidence and the impact of the two withdrawals, I have come to the conclusion that currently the case against Mr. Kenyatta does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards required at trial,” says the Prosecutor’s statement.  “I therefore need time to complete efforts to obtain additional evidence, and to consider whether such evidence will enable my Office to fully meet the evidentiary threshold required at trial.”It is now up to the judges to decide on the postponement request, but they are unlikely to reject it.The Prosecutor stresses that her decision “is based solely on the specific facts of this case devoid of extraneous considerations”. Since the election of Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in March, the African Union has waged a campaign to have their trials stopped, arguing that the ICC should not prosecute serving top officials. Deputy President Ruto has been on trial since September.The prosecution has often complained about witness intimidation in Kenya. In March, Bensouda dropped her case against former cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura, citing “severe challenges” her office had faced in investigating him. Muthaura had been due to go on trial with Kenyatta.ER/JC