THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — International Criminal Court judges pushed back the start of the trial of Kenya’s deputy president Monday until Sept. 10 to give defense attorneys more time to prepare and recommended that it could be started in Kenya or Tanzania.
William Ruto’s trial was originally to have begun May 28, but that date was scrapped after lawyers for Ruto and a fellow defendant sought more time.
Ruto is charged together with journalist Joshua Arap Sang with the alleged murder, forcible deportation and persecution of supporters of political opponents in the aftermath of their country’s disputed 2007 presidential election.
Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, also is charged with involvement in post-election violence. His trial is scheduled to start July 9.
All three insist they are innocent.
Judges also allowed prosecutors to add two new witnesses to their case against Ruto and Sang.
In a separate filing, the judges said “it may be desirable to hold the commencement of trial and other portions thereof, to be determined at a later stage, in Kenya or, alternatively, in Tanzania.”
Ruto, Sang and Kenyatta all have asked for their trials to be heard in Kenya or Tanzania at the headquarters of the Rwanda tribunal in Arusha.
At a hearing last month, Ruto asked judges if he could skip parts of his trial, saying he is seeking to balance his political duties and his responsibility to answer the charges against him.
In a written recommendation to the court’s presidency, which will have to make the final decision, the judges in Ruto and Sang’s case said shifting parts of the trials to East Africa would bring “justice closer to victims and the affected communities in Kenya” and mean the trial is staged close to where alleged crimes were committed.
It was not immediately clear when judges who make up the court’s presidency would meet to consider the recommendation.