The International Criminal Court dropped charges on Monday against Francis Muthaura, who was accused alongside newly elected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta of sponsoring election violence five years ago.
Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the decision would not affect similar cases against Kenyatta, nor his running mate William Ruto.
Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki however said the collapse of the prosecution did have implications for the Kenyatta case, but did not elaborate. She may explain further though in an afternoon court session which begins at 10.30 a.m. EDT, Reuters reports.
Prosecutor Bensouda said she had no choice but to withdraw charges against Muthaura, former head of Kenya’s civil service, after a prosecution witness recanted.
“We no longer believe there is sufficient evidence to prove the charges against Muthaura beyond reasonable doubt,” she said.
It is a major blow to the prosecutor, coming after Kenyatta’s defense last week demanded the court take a fresh look at the charges he faces, saying they were based on misleading and discredited testimony.
“The Prosecution had in its possession prior to the Confirmation Hearing, exculpatory evidence, which completely undermined the credibility of one of its three core witnesses,” Kenyatta’s lawyers wrote in a filing.
“This development is obviously not bad news for Kenyatta,” said William Schabas, a law professor at Middlesex University. “A piece of evidence that was very important to both the Muthaura and Kenyatta prosecutions has gone.”