THE HAGUE (AFP) – Lawyers for Kenya’s new vice president, William Ruto, have asked the International Criminal Court to postpone his trial on crimes against humanity until at least November to allow them to properly prepare.
Ruto, 46, faces three counts of crimes against humanity for his role in deadly violence that erupted in Kenya after the last elections in 2007.
“The Defence respectfully requests that the Trial Chamber vacate the trial commencement date of 28 May 2013 and set a new trial date no earlier than November,” his lawyer Karim Khan said in court papers.
He accused prosecutors at the Hague-based court of delaying information crucial for preparing Ruto’s case, including names of witnesses.
“At this very late stage of the proceedings insufficient time remains prior to the scheduled start date of trial to conduct effective investigations,” Khan said in the document, filed on Thursday.
ICC judges already postponed Ruto’s trial once before, saying they considered it important that he have enough time to properly prepare his case.
Ruto will go on trial with his co-accused, radio boss Joshua arap Sang.
Some 1,100 people died in the bloodshed after the last elections over allegations of vote rigging, shattering Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability.
Judges in early March also postponed newly inaugurated Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s own trial for crimes against humanity over the violence until July 9.
Both Ruto and Kenyatta deny the charges.