ICC postpones trial against Kenya vice president

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International Criminal Court judges on Monday postponed the start of the crimes against humanity trial of Kenya's new vice president William Ruto, saying a number of administrative issues still needed to be cleared.

"The Chamber vacates the trial date of May 28, 2013," the three-judge bench said in a decision made at the court's headquarters in The Hague.

"The new start date for trial... will be rendered in due course," they added.

Ruto, 46, faces three counts of crimes against humanity for his role in deadly violence that erupted in Kenya after the last elections in 2007.

Last month prosecutors asked to add five witnesses to their list, prompting Ruto's lawyers to ask for a so-called status conference to discuss the case's progress.

Ruto's lawyers also asked the court to postpone the trial until at least November in order for them to prepare properly.

Having heard these submissions, "the Chamber considers that it is not feasible, at this stage, to retain 28 May as the start of the trial," the judges said.

ICC judges already postponed Ruto's trial once before, saying they considered it important that he have enough time to properly prepare his case.

Ruto will go on trial with his co-accused, radio boss Joshua arap Sang.

Some 1,100 people died in bloodshed after the last elections over allegations of vote rigging, shattering Kenya's image as a beacon of regional stability.

Judges in early March also postponed newly inaugurated Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's own trial for crimes against humanity over the violence until July 9.

Both Ruto and Kenyatta deny the charges.

© 2013 AFP

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