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ICC extends Ruto trial adjournment over Kenya attack

Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto is on trial for crimes against humanity

AFP , Friday 27 Sep 2013
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The International Criminal Court on Friday briefly extended Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto's absence from his trial to allow him to attend a prayer meeting for victims of the Nairobi shopping mall attack.

The Hague-based court on Tuesday excused Ruto from his crimes against humanity trial to return to Kenya to deal with the attack by Islamist gunmen on the Westgate shopping mall that has left at least 67 people dead.

"The sitting will resume on Wednesday 2 October," presiding judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said.

The judge said it would allow Ruto to attend a planned interdenominational church service to pray for victims, to be held in Nairobi next Tuesday.

"The Chamber believes that that service is very important in national reconciliation and healing, given what has occurred," Eboe-Osuji said.

Ruto went on trial earlier this month, the highest-ranking official to do so before the ICC, and is the first suspect to be excused to go home to work in the history of the 10-year-old court.

Ruto is in The Hague on charges of masterminding some of the 2007-08 post-election violence in Kenya that left over 1,000 people dead and several hundred thousand displaced.

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 Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who also goes on trial on 12 November on similar charges, have pledged their cooperation with the court and are maintaining their innocence.

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