The criminal case against President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court in The Hague has been withdrawn over insufficient evidence.
However, prosecutors say they may bring back these or other charges at a later date should they obtain enough proof to support the case.
“In light of the Trial Chamber’s December 3 decision on the prosecution’s application for a further adjournment, the prosecution withdraws the charges against Mr Kenyatta,” reads a statement to the court signed by ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
The withdrawal follows the decision by the Trial Chamber V(B) rejecting the prosecution’s plea to postpone the case indefinitely until it has the evidence it needs to move to the next stage.
The chamber had given Bensouda one week to either table new evidence against President Uhuru Kenyatta or file notice to terminate the case.
Mr Kenyatta had been accused of indirectly sponsoring reprisals in the Rift Valley during the post-election violence that followed the 2007 General Election. More than 1,000 people were killed and about 500,000 displaced.
The international court noted that the accused (Mr Kenyatta) had the right to be tried without undue delay, adding that the prosecutor’s office is free to file fresh charges against Mr Kenyatta after termination.
“The Chamber considered also the victims’ legitimate interests, which include seeing those responsible for the crimes held accountable,” said the ICC.
The withdrawal leaves Deputy President William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua arap Sang as the only people facing trial at The Hague over the atrocities that followed the contentious 2007 election.
Three other Kenyans initially indicted as ICC suspects in two Kenya cases in 2011 had the charges against them dropped during the pre-trial phase.
They are former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, both charged alongside Mr Kenyatta in Case 2, and former Cabinet minister Henry Kosgey, in Case 1 alongside Ruto and Sang.
The charges against Muthaura were withdrawn, while those against Maj-Gen (Rtd) Ali and Mr Kosgey were not confirmed.
They had variously been accused of various crimes against humanity including deportation of persons, inhumane acts, murder, persecution and rape.