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Kenya VP excused from parts of ICC trial

16 January 2014, 07:10

The Hague - Kenyan Vice President William Ruto is not required to be present for his entire trial for crimes against humanity, the International Criminal Court ruled on Wednesday.

"The Chamber hereby conditionally excuses Mr Ruto from continuous presence at trial," said ICC judge Chile Eboe-Osuji at the court based in The Hague.

Ruto became the highest-ranking serving official to go on trial before the ICC in September 2013 on charges of masterminding some of the 2007-08 post-election violence in Kenya that claimed more than 1 000 lives and displaced several hundred thousand people.

The court ruled in October that Ruto could be excused only under "exceptional circumstances", reversing an earlier decision excusing him from most of his trial.

The court's latest decision stipulates that Ruto must however be present for the entirety of the reading of the verdict and, if applicable, the sentencing.

He must also be present "when victims present their views and concerns in person" and for the first five days of hearings following a recess.

However, exceptionally, he is not required to attend his trial on Thursday and Friday as President Uhuru Kenyatta is travelling in Angola.

Ruto, 46, and Kenyan radio boss Joshua arap Sang, 38, stand accused of stoking the worst violence in the East African country since independence in 1963.

Both Ruto and his onetime foe and now political partner Kenyatta, who also goes on trial on November 12 on similar charges, have pledged their cooperation with the court and are maintaining their innocence.




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