The Hague - The International Criminal Court on Tuesday
suspended a decision allowing Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto to be
absent from parts of his trial next month for crimes against humanity.
The ICC in June said that Ruto could skip parts of his trial
over deadly violence that erupted in Kenya after elections in late 2007 because
of the demands placed on him in Nairobi by his duties as deputy president.
But ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed that decision,
insisting Ruto should be present throughout his trial, alongside fellow-accused
Joshua Arap Sang, 37, which begins on 10 September.
As a result, the ICC appeals chamber on Tuesday suspended the
decision allowing Ruto to be absent pending a decision on Bensouda's appeal.
"The request for suspensive effect is granted,"
the court said in a statement.
Ruto, 46, faces three counts of crimes against humanity over
deadly violence that erupted in Kenya after elections in late 2007, which
claimed some 1 100 lives and displaced around 600 000 people.
Bensouda argued that if the appeals court overturns the ruling
allowing Ruto to be absent then the trial would have to start again, if he had
already missed any of the hearings.
Such a decision "would create an irreversible situation
that could not be corrected", Bensouda said, warning that witnesses may be
unable or unwilling to testify again.
The ICC has already rejected a request from Ruto and Sang's
lawyer to move the high-profile trial to Kenya or Tanzania.
The ICC in January 2012 confirmed crimes against humanity
charges against four senior Kenyans including Ruto, Sang and Kenya's
newly-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Charges against a fourth accused, civil servant Francis
Muthaura, have since been dropped.
Judges in June postponed Kenyatta's trial until November 12,
when he is expected to become the first-ever serving head of state to face the
What began as post-election riots in 2007 quickly turned
into ethnic killings and reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave
of unrest since independence from Britain in 1963.