Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

International Criminal Court; Kenya: Trial of Kenyan President Adjourned

(Sept. 11, 2014) The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on September 5, 2014, that the trial of Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, and of the Deputy President, William Ruto, originally planned to begin on October 7, would be adjourned indefinitely. Kenyatta had been charged with five counts of crimes against in humanity, with a summons to appear issued by the court on March 8 and an initial hearing held on April 8, 2011. The charges stem from his alleged indirect role as a co-conspirator in the violence that killed more than 1,100 people after the elections in the country in 2007. (Bradley McAllister, ICC Prosecutors Adjourn Trial of Kenyan President Indefinitely, PAPER CHASE (Sept. 5, 2014); The Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, ICC-01/09-02/11, Case Information Sheet, ICC website (last visited Sept. 8, 2014).)

The charges are based on the crimes against humanity section of the Rome Statute, the founding document of the ICC, and include murder, deportation, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts. (Case Information Sheet, supra; Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (in force from July 1, 2002), arts. 7(1) (a), (d), (g), (h), & (k), ICC website.) The Statute also provides for holding people criminally responsible for a crime if they commit that crime either as “an individual, jointly with another or through another person, regardless of whether that other person is criminally responsible … .” (Rome Statute, art. 25(3)(a).)

The prosecution of Kenyatta has not been generally popular with other African leaders, who jointly spoke out against the trial. (McAllister, supra.) The African Union supported Kenya’s request that the proceedings against the President and Deputy President be dropped and that African states “speak with one voice” against ICC prosecution of heads of state while they are in office. (Press Release, AU Summit, 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly Concludes: A Summary of Key Decisions (Jan. 31, 2014), African Union website; Matthew Pomy, African Union Urges Members to Stand Against ICC Trials of Presidents, PAPER CHASE (Feb. 1, 2014).)