For Immediate Release
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague said today it was withdrawing charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. The court’s prosecutor said the Kenyan government failed to cooperate during the investigation, compromising the case.
“The decision to drop charges against President Kenyatta is devastating to the thousands of survivors who saw the court as their last hope for holding one of Africa’s most powerful leaders accountable,” said Karen Naimer, director of the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). “The collapse of this case is a serious blow to the International Criminal Court and international justice, where gathering evidence against political leaders protected by their state remains an enormous challenge. We hope the court can use the evidence it has gathered to support its case against the remaining perpetrators.”
PHR also said the ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims should look for ways to support victims with access to a wide range of reparations, including much-needed social services.
Kenyatta had been charged with crimes against humanity for his role in fomenting widespread ethnic violence following national elections in 2007, during which thousands were murdered and thousands more were sexually violated.
Through the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, PHR trains medical, law enforcement, and judicial officials in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on collecting and preserving forensic medical evidence in sexual violence cases in order to improve local prosecutions. PHR recently published a study on the post-election violence in Kenya that found a rise in rape cases during the post-election period. PHR is also involved in an ongoing legal case in Kenya on behalf of survivors over the government’s failure to prevent the post-election violence, protect civilians, or provide meaningful investigations and reparations.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.