Kenya’s Muthaura Didn’t Bribe, Threaten Witnesses, Lawyer SaysSarah McGregor
Former International Criminal Court suspect Francis Muthaura didn’t intimidate or bribe witnesses to escape prosecution on charges of fomenting violence after a disputed Kenyan election in 2007, his lawyer said.
The Hague-based court’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on March 11 withdrew her case against the 66-year-old former head of the public service, who was co-accused with President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta of ordering an outlawed militia to carry out attacks. Violence in 2008 killed more than 1,100 people and forced 350,000 to flee their homes.
Bensouda said the case against Muthaura fell apart because a key witness withdrew his testimony after being given money, while others died, were killed or are too afraid to speak.
“Nothing can be further from the truth,” Karim Khan, Muthaura’s lawyer, told reporters today in the capital, Nairobi. “Those allegations are but a smoke screen of the inescapable reality that this case collapsed from within because it was baseless.” If the court had found evidence of criminal misconduct it would have led to arrests, said Khan.
Bensouda said she plans to move forward with crimes against humanity charges against Kenyatta, 51, who is scheduled to face trial in July. He’s accused of being an “indirect co-perpetrator” on counts of rape, murder and displacement.
Kenyatta’s lawyers urged the ICC to withdraw the charges against him because the prosecution was relying on the same testimony for his investigation, calling the case “utterly flawed.”
Kenyatta’s running mate William Ruto, 46, and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang, 37, are facing charges in a separate case of organizing attacks. All of the suspects have repeatedly denied the charges.
Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta and an outgoing deputy prime minister, is scheduled to be sworn-in on March 26.
His main rival, departing Prime Minister Raila Odinga, 68, said he’s planning to lodge a challenge against Kenyatta’s election at the Supreme Court.