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ICC trial for Kenya president adjourned until October

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] adjourned the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC case materials] on Monday. Kenyatta was charged [summons, PDF] in March 2011 with five counts of crimes against humanity as an indirect co-perpetrator of the violence following Kenya's 2007 elections, which led to more than 1,100 deaths. The Trial Chamber stated [press release] that the purpose of the adjournment is to give the Kenyan government additional time to comply with prosecutors' requests for records. The new commencement date for Kenyatta's trial is set for October 7.

The trial of Kenyan authorities continues to be controversial, especially in relation to Kenyatta. In February the Kenyan Attorney General informed the ICC that Kenya would not release Kenyatta's financial records [JURIST report] without a court order, as required by Kenyan law. ICC prosecutors requested [JURIST report] an indefinite delay in the trial, claiming that the Kenyan government was interfering with the proceedings. Earlier that month, the African Union 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 Vice President William 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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