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Security Council rejects proposal to defer Kenyan leaders' trials

The UN Security Council [official website] on Friday rejected a resolution to defer the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC materials; JURIST news archive] and Deputy President William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive]. Seven members of the council voted in favor of delaying the trials for one year so that the Kenyan leaders, who are charged with crimes against humanity, could attend to the needs of their country in the wake of a recent terrorist attack [JURIST report]. However, nine affirmative votes are needed to pass any resolution among the 15-member council, meaning that the trials are still to proceed as scheduled.

Kenyatta is charged as an indirect co-perpetrator with five counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kenya during the 2007-2008 post-election violence, which led to the deaths of at least 1,100 people and the displacement of more than 600,000. The changes include murder, deportation or forcible transfer, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] last week urged [JURIST report] the UN Security Council not to defer Kenyatta's ICC trial despite mounting political pressure. Ruto is on trial [JURIST report] for three counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the same period of violence. The Appeals Chamber of the ICC ruled last month that Ruto must be present [JURIST report] for most of his trial at The Hague, and was not to be granted a conditional excusal from continuous physical presence in order to manage the turbulence in his country.

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