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Kenyan Leaders Dismayed by U.N. Vote for Criminal Trials
11/25/2013 12:11:34 PM

Pres. U. Kenyatta (l) and VP W. Ruto (r)

(GIN) A vote in the U.N. Security Council has denied the Kenyan President and Vice President a year's postponement of a pending trial for gross crimes against humanity.

Pres. Uhuru Kenyatta and VP William Ruto told the Daily Nation they would continue to run the affairs of Kenya despite the pending cases. Those seeking to benefit from their troubles were in for a rude shock, they warned.

The vote by the 15-member Security Council was split - seven members, including Russia and China, voted to approve the delay, while eight members, including France, the U.S. and Britain, abstained. Nine votes and no vetoes by any of the five permanent members - Britain, Russia, China, France and the United States, were needed for the postponement to carry.

Kenyatta and Ruto are said to have aided and abetted the massive dislocations, killings and torture of Kenyan citizens during the post-election period of 2007, according to charges against them before the International Criminal Court. Nearly 2,000 people were killed in an outburst of violence fueled by ethnic rivalries.

Both men deny the charges and have tried to have the cases adjourned or halted. Ruto's trial began last month, while Kenyatta's trial is due to start Feb. 5 after being delayed for a third time.

The U.N. vote was also a setback for the African Union (AU) which threw its weight behind the year delay. However, as Zeinab Badawi of the BBC pointed out, the AU appeared to lose its neutrality - speaking up only for Kenyans and not any of the other African leaders facing ICC trials.

Paul Mwangi, an advocate in the High Court of Kenya, lashed out at the nation in an editorial titled: "Kenya Believes its Own Hype. Gone are the days where we were an 'island of peace', in an unpredictable and violent part of the world", the Kenyan senior lawyer wrote.

"The international community is beginning to view us as a spoilt child who expects rules to be broken to accommodate its desires. The world around us has changed but we have yet to get up and smell the coffee."

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