Statement by ICC Prosecutor on the Notice to withdraw charges against Mr Muthaura
Ladies and Gentlemen, People of Kenya:
Firstly, I wish to sincerely commend all Kenyans for their commitment to maintaining peace during this election.
I wish to inform you, that today I filed a notice to the Judges to withdraw charges against Mr. Francis Kirimi Muthaura. I have done so after carefully considering all the evidence available to me at this time. It is my duty to proceed only when I believe that there is a reasonable prospect of conviction at trial. If not, then it is my responsibility as Prosecutor to take the decision to withdraw the charges.
This is an exceptional decision. I did not take it lightly, but I believe it is the right thing to do.
I explained to the Judges the reasons for my decision, specifically, the severe challenges my Office has faced in our investigation of Mr. Muthaura;
the fact that several people who may have provided important evidence regarding Mr Muthaura’s actions, have died, while others are too afraid to testify for the Prosecution. the disappointing fact that the Government of Kenya failed to provide my Office with important evidence, and failed to facilitate our access to critical witnesses who may have shed light on the Muthaura case. the fact that we have decided to drop the key witness against Mr. Muthaura after this witness recanted a crucial part of his evidence, and admitted to us that he had accepted bribes. Let me be absolutely clear on one point – this decision applies only to Mr. Muthaura. It does not apply to any other case.
My decision today is based only on the specific facts of the case against Mr. Muthaura, and not on any other consideration. While we are all aware of political developments in Kenya, these have no influence, at all, on the decisions that I make as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. As I have consistently underscored, the International Criminal Court is a judicial institution.
In conclusion, let me remind you all of my unwavering commitment to justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. The real victims of the terrible violence in Kenya five years ago are the men, the women, and the children, who were killed, injured, raped, or forcibly displaced from their homes - and whose voices must not be forgotten.
I will not forget them.