The International Criminal Court lawyer tasked with prosecuting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for alleged crimes against humanity, on Tuesday expressed her “personal disappointment” that the case had been suspended.
Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda blamed Kenya’s failure to cooperate for her decision to delay prosecuting the Kenyan head of state for murder, deportation, rape, persecution and “other inhumane acts”.
“I want to express my personal disappointment that perhaps the case has not gone the way we wanted it to go,” she said in Johannesburg.
Bensouda insisted she had not dropped the case, but had a duty to tell the Hague-based judges that she did not have the evidence needed to proceed at this stage.
Kenyatta’s trial, related to post-election violence dating back to 2007-2008, has been dogged by repeated delays.
Prosecutors had hoped to receive documents — among them company records, bank statements, records of land transfers, tax returns, phone records and foreign exchange records — to prove a link between the leader and the deadly unrest in which 1,200 died and 600,000 others were displaced.
“I haven’t dropped the case. The judges asked me a question — ‘Are you in a position to proceed?'” Bensouda explained.
“I have responded on Friday that I am not in a position to proceed because my evidence… to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt is not there at this stage.”
Bensouda also decried dogged criticism that the ICC is “anti-African”.
“This criticism against ICC is totally not backed by facts,” she said.
“All of our cases on trial are in Africa, that is true but we need to revisit how those cases got to the ICC,” she said.
She pointed out that African countries — Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Mali — had asked the court to intervene.
The United Nations Security Council had referred events in Darfur, Sudan, and Libya to the court.