Kenya has requested that the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court (ICC) be held via video link.
Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said Mr Kenyatta had fully co-operated with the ICC, but the circumstances had changed since he won the presidency in March.
President Kenyatta is accused of crimes against humanity following the country's 2007 post-election violence.
His trial is set to start in The Hague next month. He denies all charges.
Some 1,200 people died and 600,000 were forced from their homes during the 2007 conflict.
Deputy President William Ruto is also on trial - he is the first senior government official to be tried by the ICC.
Kenya's foreign minister told a news conference on Wednesday: "Are the circumstances different? Absolutely, totally, completely different. Before he wasn't the head of the state of the republic.
"Today he is the head of state of the republic. It's going to be the first time that a sovereign head is brought before any court of any kind, not just here but anywhere in the world."
Ms Mohamed said they were still waiting for a response from the court as to whether the president would be allowed to attend some of the sessions via video link.
The BBC's Caroline Karobia in Nairobi says this seems to be the strongest indication so far that Mr Kenyatta may not appear at The Hague.
Mr Kenyatta has twice failed to defer - or indefinitely postpone - the case from the world court.
On Saturday, African leaders are scheduled to hold a special meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss their relationship with the ICC.
Although Kenya has passed a motion to pull out of the ICC, Ms Mohamed has denied reports that Kenya was calling on African countries to withdraw from the ICC en masse.
She said it was "quite naive" to think that 34 countries would "come together with the sole aim of moving out of the Rome Statute" that established the ICC.