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ICC Prosecutors Not Opposed to Kenyatta Trial Delay

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court say they do not oppose delaying the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta until next year.

Mr. Kenyatta's lawyers have asked the court to postpone the trial, now set to begin November 12.

In a statement made public Thursday, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said a later date could give witnesses more time to prepare and make travel arrangements. She suggested a new trial date of February 3, 2014.

ICC judges will now have to decide when Mr. Kenyatta's trial will begin.

The Kenyan president faces charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in 2007 post-election violence that killed more than 1,100 people.

Earlier this month, the Kenyan government said it would ask the U.N. Security Council to delay Mr. Kenyatta's trial as well as the trial of Deputy President William Ruto.

Ruto faces similar charges for his alleged role in the post-election violence. His trial is in progress at The Hague.



Kenya's U.N. ambassador Macharia Kamau said both men needed to focus on the country's security threats in the wake of a September terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall that left at least 67 people dead.

The Security Council lacks the power to cancel ICC trials but can suspend them for renewable 12-month periods.

Amnesty International urged the Security Council to turn down the delay request.

In a statement Wednesday , the rights group said the council should not lose sight of the "horrific crimes" that took place during Kenya's post-election period.

Amnesty Africa Program Director Netsanet Belay said a deferral would send a "dangerous message" that the international community did not support justice for those who were victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Earlier this month, ICC judges ruled that Mr. Kenyatta would not have to attend all parts of his trial so that he could focus on his presidential duties.

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