Kenyan president must attend trial - ICC

2013-11-27 07:32
President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Hague - The International Criminal Court on Tuesday reversed a ruling that allowed Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta to attend only parts of his trial, saying the African leader "as a general rule must be present" in court.

"Any future requests to be excused from attending parts of his trial will be considered on a case-by-case basis," The Hague-based ICC said in a statement.

Kenyatta's trial on charges of masterminding some of the 2007-8 post-election violence in Kenya that left over 1 000 people dead and several hundred thousand displaced, is set to start on 5 February.

Judges on 18 October partially excused Kenyatta in order for him to deal with the aftermath of a Nairobi mall siege in September in which at least 67 people died.

Two weeks later, the court postponed the trial's start date after Kenyatta's lawyers said the attack on the upmarket Westgate mall - claimed by Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents - triggered a "national and international crisis."

ICC judges on Tuesday ruled that Kenyatta's absence is "only permissible under exceptional circumstances and must be limited to what is strictly necessary".

Kenyatta, who was elected president in March, has long said that the trial in the Netherlands would hamper his running of the country.

Prosecutors however argued Kenyatta's situation was the same as that of fellow accused and Kenyan Vice President William Ruto, who was instructed last month to be present at his own trial.


Both Kenyatta and Ruto face crimes against humanity charges in separate trials. They were political opponents at the time of the post-poll violence that shattered the east African country's image as a beacon of stability in the region.

Ruto went on trial in September, becoming the highest-ranking serving official to do so before the ICC.

Both men have pledged full co-operation with the court.

The court has been caught up in accusations that it is targeting African leaders, with the African Union calling for immunity for heads of state and asking the UN Security Council to suspend ICC proceedings against Kenya's leaders for a year.

That request was turned down, although Kenya last week at a meeting of ICC member states warned that putting Kenyatta and Ruto on trial could compromise security in the often volatile region.

The country's attorney-general Githu Muigai said Kenya was a "lynchpin" of security in the region warning that the African powerhouse was "not in our humble view a country... the international community should play Russian roulette with".

The United States, Britain and Israel all have close military and intelligence ties with Nairobi.

Kenya plays a major part in regional military efforts to stamp out al-Qaeda-linked militants who have turned neighbouring Somalia into a major global jihadist hub.

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  al-qaeda  |  uhuru kenyatta  |  william ruto  |  kenya  |  kenya icc trials  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Hip Cape Town bars to discover this summer
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.