The failed case against President Uhuru Kenyatta moved into the spotlight again last month when judges demanded a fresh inquiry into whether government obstructed access to crucial evidence against him.
An effort to prosecute Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court collapsed when ODPP said it had insufficient evidence to link him to deadly ethnic violence after the 2007 elections, when he was deputy prime minister.
But appellate judges at the court issued an order directing the trial court to re-examine one aspect of the case: whether Kenyatta’s government had actively obstructed the original prosecution.
A planned trial of Kenyatta, the first sitting president to appear before the court in The Hague, was postponed five times and never formally got underway. Prosecutors complained that the Kenyan government had ignored its obligations to cooperate during years of investigations and pre-trial hearings.
Lawyers have said that the newl inquiry could end with a reprimand of the Kenyan government, or possibly, though less likely, lead to a revival of the collapsed case against the President.
Prosecutors said that the Kenyan government had blocked their access to police officers who witnessed the violence of 2007, and that it ignored repeated requests for documentary evidence, including crucial financial statements and mobile phone records. They said that associates of Kenyatta threatened some witnesses and bribed others, and that pro-government news media created an atmosphere of fear that deterred witnesses from testifying.
Fergal Gaynor, the lawyer representing the victims, said that he had met with more than 700 of them in recent months, including some who had lost their homes and family members. (NYT)^