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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Kenyan leader's trial may be halted for year

Damien McElroy Nairobi

Published 14/10/2013 | 05:00

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The war-crimes trial of Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta could be suspended for at least a year under a diplomatic deal to be put to the United Nations.

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Western diplomats are preparing a UN Security Council resolution that would put the International Criminal Court (ICC) case on hold after the African Union lodged objections to the trial.

Sources said the resolution was to avoid a damaging stand-off between the court and African states over charges against Mr Kenyatta, pictured inset, of orchestrating post-election violence that killed more than 1,000 people in 2007-08.

Mr Kenyatta has said he is reluctant to attend the opening of his trial in The Hague on November 12, after judges agreed to alternate his appearances with the hearing for Vice-President William Rutto, who is also charged.

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However, Mr Kenyatta welcomed a decision by an extraordinary summit of the African Union, issuing an ultimatum to the court to stop the case, warning that Mr Kenyatta must not be compelled to face trial.

Mr Kenyatta said the court "stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining imperial powers".

Mr Kenyatta's trial comes weeks after Kenya faced its biggest security crisis in recent memory when al-Shabaab terrorists took over a Nairobi shopping mall, killing 67 people.

Unless the ICC prosecutor or the court asks its member countries to endorse a postponement, the only body that can intervene is the UN Security Council.

Calling for the trial's suspension, Conservative MP and chairman of the All-Party Kenya Group, Bill Cash, said: "The events in Kenya were horrific but the president was democratically elected by a significant majority in full knowledge of the case. That must give rise to questions over the continuation of the original application to the ICC." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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