Africa

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta summoned by ICC to hearing

  • 19 September 2014
  • From the section Africa
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta stands for Kenya's national anthem before the Africa Union Peace and Security Council Summit on Terrorism at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, September 2, 2014
Image caption The case against Uhuru Kenyatta has angered many African leaders

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has summoned Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to appear before the tribunal on 8 October.

Judges want to question him over claims that his government has withheld documents requested by prosecutors preparing his crimes against humanity trial.

The trial has already been delayed several times.

Mr Kenyatta denies organising ethnic massacres after elections in 2007.

Some 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 driven from their homes.

Two weeks ago, prosecutors asked for the case against him to be adjourned indefinitely, saying they did not have enough evidence because of obstruction by the Kenyan government.

President Kenyatta has repeatedly argued he needs to remain in Kenya to fight militants from the al-Shabab group and take care of state affairs.

In a statement, the ICC said discussions with Mr Kenyatta would focus on "the status of co-operation between the prosecution and the Kenyan government".

Image caption Kenya has not prosecuted anyone for the violence which wracked the country in 2007-8
Image caption The political dispute soon descended into ethnic killings

African leaders have lobbied for the case to be dropped, accusing the ICC of only investigating alleged atrocities in Africa.

Mr Kenyatta's lawyers have repeatedly said the whole case should be dropped because of a lack of evidence.

Mr Kenyatta was elected in 2013, despite facing the charges. Analysts said he turned the prosecution to his advantage, portraying it as foreign intervention in Kenya's domestic affairs.

In 2007, Mr Kenyatta was a close ally of President Mwai Kibaki, who was declared the election winner despite claims of fraud from his rival Raila Odinga.

The disputes soon turned violent, with targeted killings along ethnic lines, pitting members of the Kikuyu ethnic group of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Kibaki against other communities.

Mr Kenyatta is accused of organising an ethnic Kikuyu gang, the Mungiki sect, to attack rival groups.

His Vice-President, William Ruto, faces similar charges, although he was on Mr Odinga's side during the violence.

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