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Prosecutors Face Deadline to Strengthen Case Against Kenyan President

  • VOA News

Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta smiles as he sits with his defense team during an appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands on Oct. 8, 2014.

Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta smiles as he sits with his defense team during an appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands on Oct. 8, 2014.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has given prosecutors one week to either strengthen or drop charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The trial has been postponed several times, and the Hague-based court released a statement Wednesday saying further delay "would be contrary to the interests of justice under the circumstances."

Kenyatta faces charges of crimes against humanity for allegedly organizing post-election violence in late 2007 and early 2008. The unrest killed about 1,100 people in Kenya and displaced more than a half-million others.

Kenyatta says he is innocent.

The defense says the prosecution's case against Kenyatta has collapsed. But prosecutors say the Kenyan government has obstructed its efforts to gather evidence, including Kenyatta's phone, tax and banking records.

The prosecution has acknowledged it does not have enough evidence to convict the Kenyan leader should his case go to trial.

In October, Kenyatta became the first sitting president to appear before the ICC, when he attended a key hearing meant to determine whether the case against him should be dropped or postponed indefinitely.

Kenya's Attorney General Githu Muigai said the government has done its best to produce material requested by the prosecution, but some of the demands were impossible to meet.

The case is seen as a major test for the ICC, which has secured only two convictions since it began operating in 2002. If the trial were to go forward, Kenyatta would become the first current head of state to undergo prosecution there.

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