The case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto that they conspired with others to plan the 2007 post-election violence in which over 1100 people lost their lives and several others were injured or displaced, is fast disintegrating after the judges set to hear the accusations rebuked International Criminal Court prosecutors for failing to disclose evidence that could be used in his defence.
While the judges stopped short of ordering a retrial hearing and whereas the reprimand will have no impact on the trial itself, it is a fresh blow to prosecutors who insist they have evidence that Kenya’s popularly elected president and his deputy Ruto took part in orchestrating the 2007 violence.
Judges said prosecutors should have told defence lawyers a crucial witness was not present at a meeting where prosecutors alleged acts of violence were planned, saying the prosecution made a “grave mistake” in not doing so. The loss of that witness’s testimony contributed to the acquittal earlier this year of civil servant Francis Muthaura, Kenyatta’s co-accused. Similar charges still stand against Kenyan deputy president William Ruto.
But judges said there was no evidence prosecutors had deliberately withheld the exculpatory evidence, and turned down defence demands that the trial be abandoned or taken back to the confirmation of charges stage, when judges decide if the prosecution’s case is strong enough to warrant a trial.