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War crimes trial of Kenyan VP adjourned over hostage crisis

01 October 2013, 17:00

The Hague - Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC),on Monday adjourned the trial of Kenyan Vice-President, William Ruto, for a week to allow him to return home and deal with the hostage crisis at a Nairobi mall that has left at least 68 people dead.

Ruto and Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of crimes against humanity in relation to their alleged role in coordinating a wave of violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country's contested 2007 elections.

The court's unusually swift decision was taken during an emergency session after prosecutors said they had no objection to a short delay in proceedings, and a representative for the witnesses broke down in tears in the courtroom, saying that Ruto should be allowed to attend to the urgent matter.

"In light of the circumstances and the views heard so far, the chamber decided to excuse Ruto from the proceedings," said Presiding Judge,Chile Eboe-Osuji.

"For the moment, the excuse is for a period of one week only, subject to any further requests."

Ruto was to catch a plane from the Netherlands at 11 a.m. local time (0900 GMT), said his defence lawyer, Karim Khan.

In requesting his client's immediate release, Khan said the world would never have accepted the absence of U.S. leaders when the Twin Towers were struck on Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is Kenya's 9/11," he said.

- NAN)


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