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ICC halts Ruto trial amid Nairobi chaos

Sept. 23, 2013 at 1:55 PM   |   Comments

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The International Criminal Court said Monday it excused Kenyan Vice President William Ruto from his war crimes trial to address the militant attack in Nairobi.

The trial chamber said Monday it "excused Mr. Ruto from trial proceedings for one week in light of the circumstances in Kenya and subsequently decided to adjourn the trial."

At least 62 people were killed in an attack on a shopping center in Nairobi. Kenyan authorities said Monday at last three gunmen were killed when security forces stormed the Westgate Mall. Interpol Secretary-General Roland Noble, who pledged to help with the investigation, described the attack by suspected al-Shabaab militants as a "bloodbath."

African authorities had objected to the ICC's decision to call Ruto before the court, saying his constitutional obligations were limited by the war crimes trial.

Ruto, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and national broadcaster director Joshua Sang are suspected of committing war crimes during post-election violence in 2007 that left thousands of Kenyans dead.

"The trial is adjourned pending either the appeals chamber's decision on the defense's urgent request or the expiration of the one-week excusal period, whichever comes earlier," the court said in a statement.

Kenyatta is scheduled to appeal before the ICC later this year. All three men say they're innocent.

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