The International Criminal Court has told
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto he
must attend most of his trial on charges of
crimes against humanity.
Prosecutors had appealed against an earlier decision
which would have let him spend most of his time in
Kenya.
While he must appear at most of his trial, the court
ruled he can be excused on a “case by case” basis.
Mr Ruto’s lawyers argued he was needed in Kenya
after the attack by Islamist militants on the Westgate
centre.
He denies responsibility for post-election violence in
2007 and 2008. An estimated 1,200 people were
killed in the ethnic bloodshed and about 600,000 fled
their homes.
His lawyers argued that justice could be met in his
absence.
At least 67 people were killed when militants
believed to be from the Somali al-Shabab group
stormed the shopping centre last month.
Tensions
In their ruling on Friday, judges were critical of the
initial decision to give the deputy president a
“blanket excusal” before the trial had even
commenced.
He will be allowed to apply to miss portions of the
case but his absence will only be allowed when it is
absolutely necessary.
The BBC’s Anna Holligan in The Hague says that the
ruling reinforces the power of the ICC to hold the
most powerful to account.
However, Friday’s ruling could deepen tensions
between the court and African leaders who accuse it
of unfairly targeting their continent, correspondents
say.
Mr Ruto has, so far, attended much of his case.
Friday’s judgement could also affect the trial of
Kenyan President Uhuru, whose trial on similar
charges is scheduled to start next month.
The prosecution is still considering whether to appeal
against a decision to allow the president to miss
parts of his trial.
Mr Kenyatta argued that attending the trial in The
Hague would prevent him from governing the
country.
Our correspondent says that Mr Ruto, Mr Kenyatta
and journalist Joshua Sang comprise the “Big Three”
accused of instigating and co-ordinating the post-
election killings in which innocent people including
women and children were shot and hacked to death.
But our correspondent says that was six years ago,
and today Kenya is on the frontline of the battle
against the global threat posed by al-Qaeda and its
global affiliates.
Mr Ruto’s trial began in September.
The deputy president is the first serving government
official to stand trial in an international court.
Many experts in international law believe that his
case reflects the apparently incompatible demands
of historical restorative justice versus future global
security.
Experts believe that the ICC is in an impossible
position, fighting against the tide of international
pressure to placate the government in Nairobi.
Kenya’s William Ruto loses ICC trial
attendance ruling
William Ruto’s trial began in The Hague on 10
September
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Could
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Experts have warned that if the ICC fails to keep the
trial afloat, its role in holding the most powerful to
account could be undermined

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