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Kenya president's war crimes trial postponed

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday postponed [decision, PDF] the war crimes trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The new trial date was set with consideration toward the defense's need for additional time to prepare its case, as well as scheduling and logistical considerations. Kenyatta and his deputy president William Ruto [JURIST news archive] are charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged involvement in inciting the violence following the 2007 election [JURIST news archive] which led to more than 1,100 deaths. Ruto's trial has been recently postponed [JURIST report], and Kenyatta's trial is now scheduled to commence on November 12.

This is the most recent in the ongoing controversy surrounding the trials of Kenyatta and Ruto. In May African foreign ministers requested [JURIST report] that Kenyatta and Ruto by tried in Kenya instead of by the ICC after the Kenyan Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) [advocacy website] released a report [JURIST report] connecting Kenyatta and Ruto to the post-election violence. Earlier in May Kenya's ambassador to the UN requested [JURIST report] that the charges against Kenyatta be dismissed. In spite of Kenya's apparent eagerness to prosecute Kenyatta, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda [official profile] has stated [JURIST report] that Kenya must prove its ability to handle the case before the ICC will drop the case. In April a judge overseeing Kenyatta's ICC case requested to be excused [JURIST report] from hearing the case. Even with charges for crimes against humanity pending against him, Kenyatta was able to win a controversial election [JURIST report] to the presidency in March. Kenyatta was sworn in as the country's fourth president following a ruling [JURIST report] from Kenya's Supreme Court that the election results were in fact valid.

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