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'Drop Kenyatta case' defence again tells ICC

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th July 2014 12:48 PM

Lawyers representing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta have renewed calls for the International Criminal Court to charges of crimes against humanity against him.

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THE HAGUE - Lawyers representing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta have renewed calls for the International Criminal Court to drop charges of crimes against humanity against him.

"We have reached a stage where there is no evidence" to support the charges, Kenyatta's lawyer Steven Kay told judges in The Hague.

"It is my submission at this stage to this court to dispose of this matter," Kay told the ICC, where Kenyatta faces five counts for his role in deadly 2007-08 post-election violence that rocked the east African country.

The court convened on Wednesday for a so-called status conference to check on the progress of Kenyatta's much-delayed trial, now scheduled to start on October 7.

Prosecutors used the occasion to express their frustration with the Kenyan government, accusing it of failing to aid their investigation.

Kenyatta's defence team has asked the ICC to drop charges against its client on a number of occasions. In February this year, his lawyers said the prosecution's case had "collapsed."

Judges postponed the trial in March in order to give Kenya a chance to look for financial documents in an apparent final push by prosecutors to form a case against the powerful African leader.

This included company records, bank statements, records of land transfers, tax returns, phone records and foreign exchange records which prosecutors hope will link Kenyatta to the deadly clashes in which some 1,200 people died and 600,000 others were displaced.

In most cases the prosecution has "not received any such records," prosecutor Benjamin Gumpert said.

Regarding Kenyatta's bank records, prosecutors did get statements, but wanted the Kenyan government's assurances that it "represented the totality of Mr Kenyatta's accounts."

Kenya's Attorney General Githu Muigai defended the government, saying all requested documents were provided "in good faith."

"But we neither have the resources, nor the technical ability or the legal framework to do fishing on the prosecutor's behalf," he said.

But Fergal Gaynor, a lawyer representing victims of the violence, accused Kenya of a "deliberate policy of obstruction."

Kenyatta's trial and that of his rival-turned-partner, Kenyan Vice President William Ruto, who faces similar charges, have been dogged by problems and delays.

These include accusations of witness intimidation and witness withdrawals, false testimony, and an international campaign by Kenya to have put the trials on hold.

African leaders frequently complain that the ICC discriminates against their continent.

Kenyatta, 52, has lobbied intensively to muster support against the tribunal. Both Kenyatta and Ruto have maintained their innocence.

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