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ICC sets court date for Kenyan contender

March 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 7 (UPI) -- The International Criminal Court said Thursday it set a July 9 trial date for Kenyan presidential contender Uhuru Kenyatta for post-election crimes.

Kenyatta, former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and former Police Chief Hussein Ali appeared before the ICC last year to hear allegations that they were behind violence after disputed 2007 elections.

The ICC said Thursday it granted a defense request for a delay, setting a provisional trial date for July 9. Kenyatta was cleared to run in this year's presidential election in Kenya by a national court that said he was innocent until proven guilty.

Kenyatta has a narrow lead over Prime Minister Raila Odinga in early vote counting. Kenyan election officials have encountered difficulties with the vote tally, however, prompting Odinga to cry foul.

Odinga's election complaints in 2007 sparked violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and another 600,000 displaced. His running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, was quoted by Bloomberg News as calling for a recount.

"It is not a call to mass action," he said. "We are committed ... to the principle of the rule of law."

This year's elections are the first under new laws aimed at preventing a repeat of the 2007 violence.

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