Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Celebrates ICC Acquittal

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta held a rally Saturday attended by thousands to celebrate the withdrawal of the crimes against humanity charges against him, his deputy president and others at the International Criminal Court.

 The rally was opposed by opposition leader Raila Odinga and some civic organizations who say it did not respect the suffering of the victims of violence in which more than 1,000 people died and 600,000 others were evicted from their homes following a disputed presidential election in 2007.

Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, who were on opposing sides of the conflict, said their coalition is a testimony to their commitment to reduce tensions between Kenya’s political and ethnic groups.

Others at the Afraha Stadium rally in the Rift Valley town of Nakuru whose ICC charges were withdrawn include former police commissioner Maj. Gen. Hussein Ali, politician Henry Kosgey, senior civil servant Francis Muthaura, and broadcaster Joshua Sang.

Ruto said they were framed and insisted on their innocence.

Cases against Ruto and Sang were the latest to collapse at the ICC. ICC judges declared a mistrial against the two earlier this month. The charges against Kenyatta were withdrawn in December 2014.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has blamed threats to witnesses, bribery and government interference for the collapse of those cases. While declaring a mistrial for Ruto and withdrawing charges against Kenyatta, the ICC said cases could be re-opened if there is new evidence.

Kenyatta said at the rally Saturday it was the end of the cases and that they will not allow any Kenyan to face prosecution in foreign court.

The ICC wants Kenya to extradite three citizens to the Hague-based court to answer to charges of witness tampering. A Kenyan court ruled that one of the Kenyans, former journalist Walter Barasa, should be extradited, but he has appealed the decision.

 

Associated Press