Skip to main content

ICC postpones Kenyan president's trial to February

By CNN Staff
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1651 GMT (0051 HKT)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's trial was scheduled to begin on November 12.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's trial was scheduled to begin on November 12.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had been scheduled to start on November 12
  • Kenyatta charged in International Criminal Court with five counts of crimes against humanity
  • Charges accuse him of funding militia that conducted attacks after disputed 2007 election
  • Attacks happened six years before Kenyatta was elected to presidency

(CNN) -- The International Criminal Court on Thursday postponed the beginning of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's trial on charges of crimes against humanity by three months to February 5, accepting a defense request for more preparation time.

The trial at the Netherlands-based ICC had been scheduled to begin on November 12. The prosecution agreed that certain issues raised by the defense merited further investigation, the court said.

Kenyatta was charged last year with five counts of crimes against humanity, stemming from violence that plagued a disputed 2007 Kenyan presidential election, in which then-incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner.

More than 1,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced when ethnic groups loyal to leading candidates in the December 2007 election torched homes and hacked rivals to death. The charges accuse Kenyatta, who backed Kibaki in the election, of funding a local militia that conducted reprisal attacks.

Kibaki continued to serve as President until this year. Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding leader, was elected in March and took office in April.

The ICC has also accused Deputy President William Ruto of orchestrating attacks. A third suspect, radio personality Joshua arap Sang, is being tried alongside Ruto on similar charges; the trial of these two began in September.

Kenyatta and Ruto have denied accusations that they coordinated violence among their respective ethnic groups after the disputed election.

African Union accuses ICC of bias, seeks delay of cases against sitting leaders

The court -- set up in 2002 to try claims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes -- has ordered Kenyatta to attend opening and closing statements, but has excused him from being at the trial otherwise.

The Kenyan parliament voted in September to withdraw from the court's jurisdiction after repeatedly calling on it to drop the cases. But a withdrawal would take a while to implement because it involves steps such as a formal notification to the United Nations, and the ICC said the trials would proceed. Kenyatta has said he and Ruto would cooperate with the court to clear their names.

Kenya's previous administration reneged on a deal to set up a special tribunal to try suspects in the post-election violence, prompting the international court to step in.

Kenya is the second African nation after Sudan to have a sitting president facing charges at the International Criminal Court. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has largely shunned an ICC warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes.

CNNs Pierre Meilhan, Jason Hanna and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT