, BEIJING, Sep 18 – China has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to heed the pleas of African nations and the African Union with respect to the trials of Kenyan leaders, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said here on Wednesday.
Spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily news briefing in response to the ICC trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
“We have noticed that there are different voices in Kenya on the ICC trials, and that quite a few African nations have raised serious questions about the trials,” said Hong.
President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto were elected by Kenyans in a free vote, Hong said, adding that an African Union summit in May urged the ICC to transfer the trials of Kenyan leaders to Kenya.
“We hope the international community will respect the Kenyan people’s choice, and the ICC will heed the advice of African nations and the African Union,” he said.
Ruto, who was a Member of Parliament at the time of post-election violence that rocked the East African nation in December 2007, faced trial for crimes against humanity at the Hague court on Sept 10 He was the first senior Kenyan politician to stand trial for crimes committed during the violence.
Kenyatta’s trial is slated for November.
Ruto and Kenyatta on opposite sides of the political divide in the post-election violence are accused of organizing attacks against each other’s supporters. They were elected in March 2013 on a joint ticket.
Kenyatta’s government has repeatedly tried, since taking office in April, to seek the support of regional leaders and political bodies, including the UN Security Council and the African Union, to force the ICC to drop the cases.