NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Kenya repeated demands on Wednesday for the crimes against humanity trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court be held via video link.
“There is a request that has been put before the court for the president to be allowed to attend some of the sessions via video link,” Foreign Secretary Amina Mohamed told reporters.
“We are still waiting for a decision to be made on that.”
The comments, made alongside remarks that circumstances became “completely different” after Kenyatta was elected in March, are seen as raising pressure on the ICC, and come ahead of a meeting of African leaders beginning Friday to debate a possible withdrawal from The Hague-based court.
Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang are accused of masterminding some of the 2007-2008 post-election political unrest that left at least 1,100 dead and more than 600,000 homeless.
The trial of Ruto and Sang began last month, while Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled to start in The Hague on November 12.
“As you know, he (Kenyatta) has cooperated fully with the court up until now,” Mohamed added.
“The circumstances are different, absolutely, totally and completely different. Before, he was not the Head of State of the Republic. Today, he is the Head of State.”
Similar requests for Ruto’s trial to be made via video link were denied.
“In countries that are considered more advanced than ours, it is clear that presidents are not hauled before the courts and that in many cases, the courts have to wait for their day after the president leaves office,” she added.
Last month, Kenya warned that future cooperation with the ICC was in jeopardy, after Kenyatta was forced to pull out from attending the UN General Assembly because Ruto was away on trial.
The statement warned that “the political space for continuous cooperation was rapidly being eroded and the country was weary that the dire consequences of these developments seemed to be lost on the ICC.”