10 January 2014

Kenya: Bensouda Contests Ruto's Remote Attendance Request

Photo: ICC
Kenya's deputy President William Ruto's day in court at the Hague (file photo).

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Fatou Bensouda wants Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto to attend his trials at The Hague, saying Ruto's normal duties as deputy president do not warrant an absence from trials.

The remarks come less than a month after Ruto applied for an excusal from physically attending all of his trial, set to resume on January 15th.

ICC member states amended the court's rules November 27th, allowing defendants to ask to appear by video conference during their trials on a "case-by-case basis".

Bensouda argued that the rule was not intended to provide blanket excusals, and that not all of Ruto's duties are "extraordinary".

"Not every activity undertaken by the deputy president of Kenya will be of such a nature; dealing with the aftermath of the Westgate terrorist attack in Nairobi is one such example," she said. "Opening new roads or welcoming a foreign dignitary would not be."

A three-judge panel are scheduled to rule on Ruto's application on Monday (January 13th).

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