China steps into ICC, Kenyan fray

Sept. 19, 2013 at 10:21 AM   |   Comments

BEIJING, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A Chinese official urged the International Criminal Court to listen to Kenyan and African Union voices in trials resulting from Kenya's post-election violence.

The ICC is hearing witness testimony in war crimes cases against Kenyan Vice President William Ruto and national broadcasting director Joshua Sang. Both men are accused of committing crimes against humanity in post-election violence that gripped Kenya in 2007. They issued not-guilty pleas last week.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday the ICC was called on to listen to African voices during the trial.

"We hope the international community will respect the Kenyan people's choice, and the ICC will heed the advice of African nations and the African Union," he was quoted by China's official Xinhua news agency as saying.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ran on the same ticket as his former rival, Ruto, in elections early this year. Kenyatta is slated to appear before the ICC later this year.

Beijing said it was making its case amid complications with witness testimony at the ICC. The ICC warned the Kenyan press it would face legal repercussions for publishing information about witnesses testifying at The Hague.

"We have noticed that there are different voices in Kenya on the ICC trials, and that quite a few African nations have raised serious questions about the trials," the spokesman said.

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