Arusha, December  4, 2014 (FH) – International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda must either withdraw crimes against humanity charges against Kenyan President  Uhuru Kenyatta or indicate that she is ready to go to trial, the ICC said Wednesday. It gave her one week to say which course of action she will take.

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The court noted factors including “the Prosecution's admission that the evidentiary basis remains insufficient to support a conviction and the Prosecution's concession that it remains speculative whether the information sought in the cooperation request would, even if obtained, be sufficient to support the charges,” according to the ICC press release. “The Chamber also noted the accused's right to be tried without undue delay and the presumption of his innocence.”

The judges thus rejected the Prosecutor’s request for a further adjournment of the trial. It also rejected a Defence request to dismiss the case.

In a separate decision, the court also rejected a prosecution request for a finding of non-cooperation against the Kenyan government and referral of the matter to the ICC Assembly of States Parties.

It found that the Kenyan government “had not met the standard of good faith cooperation required from States Parties under the Rome Statute”, but “exercised its discretion in not referring the matter to the Assembly of States Parties, since the Chamber was not persuaded that a referral would facilitate a fair trial, was in the interests of justice or was otherwise appropriate in the particular circumstances”.

Kenyatta, who was elected president in March 2013, is charged with crimes against humanity committed in his country during post-election violence in 2007 and 2008. 

But the trial has been adjourned several times at the request of the Prosecutor, who faces the withdrawal of key witnesses and what she says is lack of cooperation by the Kenyan authorities.