News / Africa

Kenyan Presidential Candidate Seeks Delay In ICC Trial

Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta leaves after he was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to run for presidency in the March 4 presidential elections, in capital Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 30, 2013.Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta leaves after he was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to run for presidency in the March 4 presidential elections, in capital Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 30, 2013.
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Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta leaves after he was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to run for presidency in the March 4 presidential elections, in capital Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 30, 2013.
Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta leaves after he was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to run for presidency in the March 4 presidential elections, in capital Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 30, 2013.
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VOA News
Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a delay in his trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

He is one of four Kenyans accused of organizing deadly ethnic violence that followed Kenya's disputed 2007 election.  His trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is due to begin April 11, five weeks after Kenyans cast votes for a new president and parliament.

In a pretrial hearing at the Hague on Thursday, Kenyatta's lawyer Steven Kay said the defense needed more time because prosecutors had introduced new evidence at the last moment.

"Let us investigate these allegations properly, and we will show you we are right again, but what is happening here is that we are being denied that opportunity,'' Kay said.

Kenyatta, a former finance minister, is considered one of two leading presidential candidates in the March 4 election, along with Prime Minister Raila Odinga. He has repeatedly denied the ICC charges.

His running mate William Ruto also faces trial at the ICC, along with former Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura and radio executive Joshua Arap Sang.

During Thursday's hearing, Muthaura's attorney Karim Ahmad Khan said prosecutors had summoned witnesses who had lied to the court.

"The critical witnesses of the prosecution in this case, not all of them, but the critical cabal, are coming to this court to lie and we need, your honors, time to expose those lies,'' he said.

The was no immediate ruling from the judges, and no comment from the ICC.

The ethnic violence that erupted across Kenya in early 2008 killed more than 1,100 people and displaced more than 600,000 from their homes.  

At a presidential debate on Monday, Kenyatta said the ICC trial would not interfere with his ability to run the country as president.  

Prime Minister Odinga's campaign says electing Kenyatta would damage Kenya's international reputation.

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