“I am withdrawing the charges against Mr. Kenyatta because I do not believe that it is possible at this time for me to fully investigate and prosecute the crimes charged in this case,” Bensouda said in a statement. “The withdrawal of the charges does not mean that the case has been permanently terminated.”
She earlier announced withdrawal of the charges after ICC judges on Wednesday declined her request for a further adjournment of the trial and gave her a week to either say she was trial ready or drop the charges.
Kenyatta was charged with crimes against humanity committed in violence that followed elections at the end of 2007. The trial was supposed to start early this year but has been postponed several times at the request of the Prosecutor, who says she faces obstruction of justice.
In her statement, she said she had faced numerous problems. “Several people who may have provided important evidence regarding Mr. Kenyatta's actions have died,” she said, “while others were too terrified to testify for the Prosecution”. She said key witnesses later withdrew saying they had lied, while “the Kenyan Government's non-compliance compromised the Prosecution's ability to thoroughly investigate the charges, as recently confirmed by the Trial Chamber”.
Meanwhile, as Kenyatta supporters took to the streets of Nairobi to celebrate, the Kenyan president said he felt vindicated, and that his conscience was “absolutely clear”. He also slammed the ICC, saying his case was "rushed there without proper investigation". "Just as the ICC failed me, it has also failed the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence," the BBC quoted him as saying.
Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang are still on trial before the ICC for similar crimes against humanity committed in the 2007-2008 violence. “One case down, two more to go," the BBC quoted Kenyatta as saying on Twitter.