Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta (L) speaks with cabinet secretary for foreign affairs Amina Mohammed (R) and attorney-general Githu Mungai (2-R) at the African Union’s special summit on ICC., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
ICC in surprise U-turn on Kenyatta trial
October 29, 2013
THE HAGUE— International Criminal Court prosecutors asked judges yesterday to reverse a ruling allowing Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to attend only parts of his trial, after a similar decision involving his deputy was overturned last week.Appeals judges ruled last Friday that Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto must attend his own crimes against humanity trial, saying Ruto could only be excused under “exceptional circumstances.”
The court on October 18 partially excused Kenyatta to allow him to fulfil his duties at home following a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall last month.
“The prosecution submits that the trial chamber should vacate the (October 18) Kenyatta decision and revert to the general rule . . . that (President) Kenyatta must (also) be present during trial,” chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in an application before the court.
Kenyatta, who was elected president in March, has long said that the trial in The Hague would hamper his running of the country, even though he has pledged his full cooperation.
Prosecutors argued that the situation was the same as Ruto’s, and the Kenyan president should also be instructed to be present at the whole trial, which could run up to several years.