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Sunday, February 25, 2024

ICC Prosecutor Concludes 2007/08 Poll Violence Probe in Kenya

On Monday, a prominent prosecutor at the International Criminal Court announced that all ongoing investigations into post-election violence in Kenya in 2007 will be discontinued.

Nazhat Shameen Khan, the deputy chief prosecutor at the ICC, has effectively put an end to a 13-year legal battle involving prominent Kenyan politicians. The Hague-based tribunal began investigating the violence that occurred after the 2007 Kenyan elections, which resulted in 1,300 deaths and 600,000 people being displaced in the Eastern African country.

Initially, six individuals, including the current and former presidents of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, faced charges of crimes against humanity such as murder and deportation.

However, in 2014, former chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda dropped the charges against Kenyatta, citing weak evidence. Similarly, in 2016, the case against Ruto was halted by judges who deemed the prosecution’s evidence insufficient.

Ultimately, the case against all six suspects fell apart due to a lack of substantial evidence, leading to its collapse.

Bensouda attributed the impossibility of conducting a trial to an ongoing and relentless campaign of victim and witness intimidation. As a result, prosecutors initiated a fresh investigation into cases of witness intimidation and bribery.

Following his appointment as the chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, who previously served as Ruto’s defense lawyer, recused himself from the ongoing investigations in Kenya. Khan took over the position from Bensouda in 2021.

In late 2020, Paul Gicheru, a Kenyan lawyer, surrendered himself to the ICC. However, the case involving witness bribery against Gicheru was dropped last year after news surfaced that he had passed away.

Two other suspects in the intimidation and bribery case, Philip Bett and Walter Barasa are still at large and face charges before the court.

But the ICC’s deputy chief prosecutor Nazhat Shameen Khan on Monday said she was ending further investigations into the post-election violence in Kenya.

“I have reached this decision after considering the specific facts and circumstances of this situation,” she said in a statement.

“Accordingly, the Office will not pursue additional cases into the alleged criminal responsibility of other persons,” Khan said.

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