New York - The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on an
African call for the International Criminal Court trial of Kenyan leaders to be
suspended for a year, diplomats said.
Rwanda's UN envoy Eugene Richard Gasana told reporters after
Security Council talks that African states were pressing for a vote this week
on their draft resolution.
Rwandan deputy ambassador Olivier Nduhungirehe later said
there would be a vote on Friday on a resolution calling for crimes against
humanity charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William
Ruto to be deferred for one year.
European nations say they are confident however that the
resolution does not have sufficient support on the 15-nation council to be
Kenyatta and Ruto are accused of masterminding political
violence following a bitterly contested 2007 presidential election in which at
least 1 100 people died.
Both took office earlier this year. Some African leaders say
Kenyatta and Ruto should be left to concentrate on the battle to stop
instability in Somalia spreading to other nations.
Rwanda has pressed the case as one of Africa's three
temporary members of the Security Council.
Council resolutions need the backing of nine members to
pass. As seven of the 15 current members are also ICC signatories, opponents of
the African campaign are confident it will fail.
Diplomats say opponents are worried that allowing a deferral
now would be a dangerous precedent to set for other government leaders who
might seek to avoid the ICC.
But in growing recognition that some kind of gesture needs
to be made towards African demands, ICC members will debate making trial
conditions easier for defendants such as Kenyatta at their annual assembly next
China and Russia, opponents of the ICC, have backed the
African case in Security Council talks.
China's UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, who is the Security
Council president for November said there had been intensive talks on the case
in a closed meeting.
"The members attach importance to concerns of the
African countries. They see the role played by Kenya in peace and security and
counter-terrorism," Liu told reporters after the meeting.
But Liu acknowledged that there was no agreement on the
draft resolution and that other ways for the Security Council to act were being