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Lawyers for Kenya's Kenyatta Urge ICC to Drop Case

Lawyers for Kenya's president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta are calling on the International Criminal Court to drop crimes against humanity charges against him.

The defense lawyers argued Monday that there is a lack of evidence in the case after the case against Mr. Kenyatta's co-accused, Francis Muthaura, collapsed.

They say a statement by a key prosecution witness who recanted his testimony undermines the case against Mr. Kenyatta.



"The real fact of the matter is that what was withdrawn against Muthaura should have been withdrawn against Kenyatta, and we have here a very unfair and biased decision that is keeping us in this case as a symbol."



Prosecutors told the court that their case is strong enough to go to trial even without the key witness.

Mr. Kenyatta and Muthaura were among four Kenyans charged with orchestrating deadly violence that followed Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election.

Both were charged as indirect co-perpetrators of crimes against humanity that include murder, displacement, and rape. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Muthaura last week.



Others facing trial at the ICC include Mr. Kenyatta's running mate, William Ruto, and radio executive Joshua arap Sang.

The ICC charges became a major issue during Mr. Kenyatta's campaign for the presidency.

He won the March 4 election with a slim majority of the vote. Runner-up Raila Odinga is challenging the results in the courts, alleging fraud during the vote-counting process.

Some Western nations have said they will have to limit their contact with the president-elect if he takes office.

Mr. Kenyatta's trial at the Hague is scheduled to begin in July. If the case goes forward, Mr. Kenyatta will be the first sitting head of state to actively defend charges against himself at the ICC.

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