News / Africa

ICC: Kenya's Ruto Must Attend Trial

An April 2011 Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
An April 2011 Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Gabe Joselow
The International Criminal Court has reversed a decision allowing Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto to be absent for parts of his trial.  The decision, announced Friday, is a major setback for Kenya’s leaders, who are seeking ways to avoid attending trial.
Appeals court judges ruled unanimously that the court was wrong in granting Ruto conditional permission to skip portions of his trial.
He and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta are charged in separate but similar cases for allegedly orchestrating the inter-ethnic violence that followed the presidential election of 2007, in which more than 1,100 people were killed.
Reading a summary of the ruling, Judge Song Sang-hyun said any decisions to excuse Ruto from parts of his trial should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“The absence of the accused can only take place in exceptional circumstances and must not become the rule," Sang said.
In June, trial chamber judges ruled that Ruto would not have to appear continuously at The Hague, but that he would have to be present for opening and closing statements, judgments and when victims testify.
Kenyatta, who is due to attend the opening of his trial in November, was granted the same reprieve last week.
Apollo Mboya, head of the Law Society of Kenya, expects a similar ruling against Kenyatta, should the prosecutor appeal his exemption.
“It’s most likely that they are going to give a similar ruling since the ICC is very clear that the suspects before it are not there in their official capacity, but as individuals," Mboya said. "So it is fair and reasonable to predict that is going to be the same ruling that they are going to give in the Kenyatta case.”
The Kenyatta administration, backed by the African Union, has been lobbying the United Nations Security Council to push for a deferral of the two cases.
In identical letters sent to the Council earlier this month, Kenya and the AU cited security concerns in Kenya following the terrorist siege on Nairobi’s Westgate mall as reason for a deferral.  
The letters argue that the proceedings against Kenya’s two leaders will prevent them from fulfilling their duties, including “oversight for national and regional security affairs.”

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Comment Sorting
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
October 25, 2013 8:41 PM
ICC is just trying to show it's true colour and it's arrogance towards black leaders for all to see. Recently elected president and deputy president, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were unanimously granted permissions to skip portions of their trial by ICC judges. Now the same judges reversed their decision for apparently no specific reasons. Kenyatta and Ruto desperately needed to skip their trial proceedings to deal with very dangerous pressing issues at home; terrorism, high unemployment, poverty and unprecedented number of refugees pouring in from neighbouring countries. Both gentlemen openly vowed earlier to cooperate with ICC, in return they are now embarrassed and humiliated in public domain. The world allowed this Court to behave however they want. African leaders should not allow to be treated cruelly and unjustly. We, as Africans, have suffered oppressions for very long time. Now it's 2013 one has to stop THIS.

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