Two witnesses due to testify in Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial have withdrawn over security concerns, the International Criminal Court has said.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda informed Trial Chamber V (B) that they had also dropped a third witness whose evidence was no longer necessary.
“The Prosecution hereby notifies the Chamber of the withdrawal of three witnesses from its list of witnesses to be relied on at trial. This notification is designated “confidential, ex parte” because it contains security-related information about former Prosecution witnesses that, if disclosed to the parties or the public, may place the witnesses and/or their family members at risk,” Bensouda said today
Prosecutors were forced to drop their case against Kenyatta’s co-accused, civil servant Francis Muthaura, in March, with chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda saying witnesses were either dead or too afraid to testify.
“The case against Kenyatta has already been very shaky since the witness withdrew in the Muthaura case, so the question is whether this will be enough to push it over the edge,” said William Schabas, a law professor at Britain’s Middlesex University.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor has previously accused Kenya’s government of not protecting witnesses.
Mr Kenyatta is accused of orchestrating deadly violence after the 2007 election, an allegation he denies.
In March this year he was elected president and his trial at The Hague is due to start on 12 November.