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ICC prosecutors request indefinite delay in trial of Kenya president

The Office of the Prosecutor [official website] at the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday requested that the court indefinitely delay the proceedings in the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC materials], which was originally scheduled for February 5. Prosecutors reportedly claim that the Kenyan government has repeatedly interfered with the proceedings [AP report] by threatening witnesses and restricting access to information material to the case. Prosecutors allege Kenyatta is criminally responsible as an indirect co-perpetrator for crimes against humanity stemming from his role in the 2007 post-election violence [JURIST news archive]. Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive] is also facing trial.

Earlier in February the African Union (AU) called for African countries to "speak with one voice" against the trials [JURIST report] of sitting heads of state of Kenya in the ICC. In January the Trial Chamber of the ICC made an oral ruling [JURIST report] that Ruto may be conditionally excused from attending his trial on a continuous basis. In November the ICC reversed [JURIST report] a previous decision that Kenyatta could be excused from parts of his crimes against humanity trial. In the initial ruling, the Trial Chamber stated that the excuse was "strictly granted to accommodate the demanding functions of his office as President of Kenya."

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