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Security Council to Consider Delay in ICC Kenyatta, Ruto Trials

The United Nations Security Council is set to consider a resolution that could delay the crimes against humanity trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy.

Three African nations on the Council -- Rwanda, Togo and Morocco -- plan to present the resolution Friday. The measure would ask the International Criminal Court to delay the trials of Mr. Kenyatta and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto for one year.

Both men are accused of orchestrating ethnic violence after Kenya's 2007 presidential election that killed more than 1,100 people.

The resolution needs at least nine votes on the 15-member Council to pass. Rwanda's deputy head of mission to the U.N., Olivier Nduhungirehe, told VOA Thursday that seven nations plan to vote yes.

"Besides the three African countries, we have Azerbaijan, Russia, China and Pakistan, and we hope that during these 24 hours remaining, we will continue to engage some of (the other Council members) to get the two votes needed," he said.

Mr. Ruto's trial began in September. Mr. Kenyatta's trial was due to begin this month but was postponed until February.

Kenya has argued the two men cannot spend long periods of time in The Hague while Kenya tries to fight the threat of regional terrorism. Somali militant group al-Shabab attacked a Nairobi mall in September, killing more than 60 civilians.

Some Kenyan and African leaders have also accused the ICC of having a bias against Africans. Every person prosecuted by the ICC to date has come from an African country.

In another development, the court in The Hague said 20 victims of post-election violence had decided to withdraw from the ICC case against Mr. Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang, a radio executive who is being tried alongside Mr. Ruto.

In a Thursday statement, the ICC said the decision to withdraw could have been motivated by a range of factors, including security concerns.

Court documents published in July said two witnesses in the case against President Kenyatta had withdrawn their testimony.

One of the witnesses cited safety concerns. The second witness' concerns were not specified.

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