ICC prosecutors botched probe into top Kenyans: lawyer

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Prosecutors botched their probe of Kenya's deputy prime minister and two others for their alleged role in deadly post-election unrest, a defence lawyer told the International Criminal Court Wednesday.

"We say this case simply cannot go forward," said Karim Khan, the lawyer for Francis Muthaura, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki's right-hand man and another of the defendants.

"The prosecution got it wrong and failed to investigate properly," he added.

Muthaura, 64, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, 49, and ex-police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, 55, all attended the hearing to determine whether they should stand trial for the unrest that followed controversial 2007-08 polls.

"Any way you look at the evidence, even if you dress it up in its Sunday best, it's still in rags, in tatters," Khan told the court's judges.

During two weeks of hearings, prosecutors have alleged that Kenyatta and Muthaura planned and implemented attacks against opposition supporters.

They used Kenya's criminal underground, the Mungiki, and ordered police not to intervene, the prosecution argued.

Kenyatta, is not only the son of Kenya's founding father, Jomo Kenyatta, but a potential presidential candidate.

All three men, supporters of Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) face five counts of crimes against humanity for "organising and directing" attacks against the then opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporters.

The post-election violence was the worst bloodshed in the country since independence in 1963.

Some 1,133 people died and more than 663,000 others were displaced after clashes between rival supporters, when politically motivated riots turned into ethnic killings, sparking further reprisals in the Rift Valley in early 2008.

The three are the second group of senior Kenyans to appear before the court after ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in December 2010 asked judges to issue summonses against them for crimes against humanity.

© 2011 AFP

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