September 5, 2014 / 1:15 PM / 5 years ago

Hague prosecutors ask to halt Kenyan president's trial

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta stands for Kenya's national anthem before the Africa Union Peace and Security Council Summit on Terrorism at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, September 2, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta collapsed on Friday when prosecutors conceded the country’s refusal to cooperate meant they would not have enough evidence to put him on trial.

The decision to halt the much-delayed trial, which was due to start on October 7, is a serious blow to the decade-old war crimes tribunal, which has suffered from a string of collapsed cases and accusations it singles out Africans for prosecution.

The case against Kenyatta, who was accused of stoking a wave of lethal inter-ethnic violence after Kenya’s 2007 presidential elections, had been postponed several times as prosecutors tried to gather evidence against the politician.

“The accused person in this case is the head of a government that has so far failed fully to comply with its obligations to the Court,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a filing, asking judges to adjourn the case indefinitely.

Kenyatta, the son of his country’s founder, was elected president in 2012 and immediately began rallying Kenya’s African Union allies in a diplomatic push to have the charges against him dropped, along with those against his deputy, William Ruto, who is already on trial on separate but similar charges.

Prosecutors had asked Kenyan authorities to provide their president’s phone and bank records in the hope this would yield the evidence they needed to convict him after their case was weakened by the withdrawal of star prosecution witnesses.

The report had no obvious effect on the value of Kenya’s national currency, the shilling, indicating the extent to which investors had already factored in the collapse of the case.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt, additional reporting by Edmund Blair in Nairobi; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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