Arusha, March 8, 2013 (FH) – The International Criminal Court has postponed the trial of Kenya’s current Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to July 9, 2013.  Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged role in 2007-2008 election violence.

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He is due to be tried along with former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura. Their trial had been set to start on April 11. 

Uhuru is a son of Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta, and is currently leading the vote count in presidential elections that took place on March 4. Provisional results from Kenya’s Independent Electoral Commission put him ahead of his main rival, current Prime Minister Raïla Odinga.

Judges Thursday granted a request from both defence teams to put back the trial. They  considered that the defence applications “raise very serious issues that must be resolved before the trial can proceed and which may not be resolved before 11 April 2013”, according to an ICC press release.

Two other Kenyans, MP William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang, are also due to go on trial before the ICC for crimes against humanity linked to the violence that followed December 2007 elections. Their trial is currently set to start on April 10, but they have also asked for a postponement. The judges said they will decide “in due course”.

Ruto has formed an electoral alliance with Kenyatta and is running to be his vice-president. During the campaign the two urged Kenyans to vote for them as part of a  “vote of no confidence” in the ICC. They also told Kenyans that “ the government will function even as we attend court sessions”.

They have both appeared voluntarily before the Court in answer to summons, and no arrest warrants have so far been issued against them.  ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said that the judicial process will continue whatever the outcome of Kenya’s presidential election.