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Kenyan President Seeks ICC Trial Delay

Kenya is asking the U.N. Security Council to delay the trials of the country's president and vice president for a year so they can deal with national security threats.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, face charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. The charges stem from their alleged roles in 2007 post-election violence that killed more than 1,100 people.

Kenya's U.N. ambassador Macharia Kamau says the Security Council should take into account Kenya's security threats, in the wake of a September terrorist attack at a Nairobi mall that left at least 67 people dead.

In an interview Wednesday with VOA , Kamau said both Ruto and Mr. Kenyatta must spend time dealing with domestic threats.



"To expect that our head of state and our deputy head of state would, you know, scamper off to The Hague for weeks on end is ludicrous. It is beyond reason."



Kamau says a Security Council decision to delay the proceedings would underscore how important it is for Kenya and neighboring countries to deal with threats.



"Our threat is real. It is present. It is onerous. It is with us. It is not something that happened 11 or 12 years ago. It is something that is unfolding in our part of the world as I speak."



Ruto's trial is underway at the Hague. Mr. Kenyatta's trial is due to start November 12th.

The Security Council lacks the power to cancel ICC trials but can suspend them for a 12-month period which can be renewed each year.

Earlier this month, the ICC ruled Mr. Kenyatta would not have to attend all parts of his trial so he could attend to presidential duties. It said the Kenyan leader is still required to be present for all opening and closing statements and the delivery of the verdict.

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