As Reported by Capital FM. Three months before Kenya’s deputy president is due to go on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, 93 victims of violence that followed a disputed election in late 2007 have pulled out of the proceedings.
In a letter dated June 5, the 93 victims informed the court that they did not support the prosecution of Kenya’s newly elected president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy William Ruto, both of whom stand accused of orchestrating the bloodshed.
“We wish to withdraw from the case and [ICC] process with immediate effect since we are no longer confident that the process which is going on at the court is beneficial to our interests,’’ the letter read.
Kenyatta and Ruto were elected in a presidential election held in early March.
In two separate cases known as Kenya 1 and Kenya 2, they are charged with planning attacks across political and ethnic lines in the aftermath of the poll in December 2007.
Former radio broadcaster, Joshua Arap Sang, is charged in the same case as Ruto.
COURT: VICTIM WITHDRAWAL HAS “NO CONSEQUENCES” ON THE TRIAL.
The 93 victims are mainly people who lost relatives or were forced to flee their homes during the unrest.
More than 1,100 people died and approximately 650,000 were displaced during months of violence.
It was not clear whether the 93 were due to appear in one or both of the cases, under the ICC’s victim participation scheme.
The trial of Ruto and Sang is set to start on September 10. Kenyatta’s trial currently has a start date of July 9, but this is likely to be delayed as his lawyers have asked judges to stay the case until January 2014.
The victims’ letter was addressed to the ICC’s office for victims and witnesses in The Hague.
In an email to IWPR, the ICC said it had received “a letter alleging the withdrawal of 93 victims from ICC proceedings in the Kenyan cases”.
The court declined to comment on the authenticity of the letter, but said further court procedures were necessary before the victims’ names could be withdrawn.
Any such withdrawal would have “no consequences” on the trial or on the participation of any other victims in the two cases, the court’s statement said.