Accessibility links

ICC Prosecutors Allege Obstruction in Trial of Kenya's President

The defense in the International Criminal Court trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says "the prosecution has realized that its case has collapsed."

Defense attorney Stephen Kay told the court on Wednesday, that a prosecution attempt to blame the Kenyan government for obstruction indicates prosecutors had no real case.

At issue are financial records that prosecutors say could tie Mr. Kenyatta to 2008 post-election violence that left more than 1,000 people dead.

Mr. Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, face charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in orchestrating the violence.

During Wednesday's court session, prosecution lawyer Benjamin Gumpert accused the defense of foot-dragging on turning over the records.

"One of the allegations we make against Mr. Kenyatta is that he, personally, provided very large quantities of money, which were funneled down through his intermediaries and messengers and delivered in the form of cash to the perpetrators of the violence. The request for assistance which we made, was for Mr. Kenyatta's financial records, because, we suggest, if he did indeed make such financial contributions, there would likely be records of movement of funds at the relevant time."

However, Kay argued the Kenyan government had been right to withhold the records.

"The government of Kenya has maintained consistently that requests from the prosecution should come through the court, and by that they mean the trial chamber."

Prosecutors in Mr. Kenyatta's trial have acknowledge they lack sufficient evidence to go ahead with the trial. They say witnesses have been bribed and intimidated and at least two key witnesses have dropped out.

They have also accused the Kenyan government of blocking access to what they say are key phone records needed to build their case.

The ICC trials of Mr. Kenyatta and Ruto have also become part of a wider debate over whether the ICC singles out Africans for prosecution.

Mr. Kenyatta was not present during Wednesday's court session.