September 13, 2013 (NAIROBI) - Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Eritrea have written to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to allow Kenyan Vice President William Ruto not to attend all hearings of his case in The Hague to allow him carry out his constitutional obligations.
- William Ruto, Vice President of Kenya
The five African countries also want an interpretation of the Article 63 of the Rome Statute which states that ‘the accused shall be present during the trial.’
ICC spokesperson, Fadi El Abdallah, said the court had received the letter but added that for now the Kenyan VP has to attend all hearings until a decision is made on the interpretation of Article 63.
"For the time being, Mr Ruto is requested to be present at all the hearings in his trial before Trial Chamber V (a), pending a final determination of the Appeals Chamber on the appeal against the excusal decision”, El Abdallah said on Thursday.
Ruto is jointly charged with radio journalist, Arap Sang.
Both stand accused of murder, forcible population transfer and persecution, during post-election violence in 2007 that led to the death of 1,000 people and displacement of 600,000.
The hearing continues next Tuesday, when the prosecution is expected to produce a witness in support of its case.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, who has also been charged by the ICC, is expected to appear before the court in November.
On Thursday, Uhuru’s spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, said the president and his deputy would continue cooperating with the ICC. However, he added that the cooperation would be within what is permissible under the Kenyan constitution.