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Kenyan President can perform official duties during trial, ICC says

Uhuru Kenyatta

The ICC will allow Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to perform some official duties and will not require his “continuous presence” as he faces trial starting November 12 for orchestrating 2007's post-election violence, the court said Friday. Judges at the International Criminal Court on Friday excused Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta from “continuous presence” at his impending trial for crimes against humanity.

 

The decision to give Kenyatta permission to deal with some of his official duties at home rather than permanently attending the trial was adopted by a majority vote, with presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki dissenting, the ICC said in a statement. Kenyatta’s trial is due to start on Nov 12.

Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, are accused of orchestrating a wave of violence in which 1,200 people died after contested 2007 elections. Both men deny the charges and have tried to have the prosecutions adjourned or halted.

The war crimes proceedings in The Hague against Ruto were delayed last month to allow him to deal with an Islamist militant assault on the Westgate mall in Nairobi in which 67 civilians and members of the security forces were killed.

Kenyatta’s trial is the court’s most high profile case since it was established a decade ago and the first against a sitting president.

An African Union summit last weekend criticised the court and complained it had only pursued Africans. It said that if the UN Security Council failed to put the cases on hold Kenyatta should refuse to attend his trial.