NAIROBI, Kenya — The International Criminal Court's prosecutor dropped charges of crimes against humanity against a fellow defendant of Kenya's president-elect on Monday, raising questions about whether the case against Uhuru Kenyatta will hold up as he is on the verge of becoming the nation's leader.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the charges against former public service chief Francis Muthaura had been dropped because a key witness recanted and admitted he had accepted bribes. Bensouda said the decision had nothing to do with Kenyatta's election victory last week.
With the world watching one of the court's most delicate and politically awkward trials, it is not just Kenyatta who will be on trial when he faces charges in July of involvement in tribal violence, including murder and rape, that followed disputed elections in 2007. The court's credibility hinges on its handling of the case.
Bensouda has said that witnesses in the Kenyatta case have been killed, have disappeared or have been bribed to recant on evidence given to prosecutors.
Kenyatta was narrowly elected president in the first round of the presidential election, surpassing the threshold to avoid a runoff by winning 50.07 percent of ballots cast. The result is being challenged in court.