Judges at the International Criminal Court will meet on Monday to decide if Kenya’s deputy president can return home to deal with the armed occupation at a Nairobi shopping mall in which 59 people have been killed, a person close to events said.
In a filing seen by Reuters, William Ruto’s lawyers had asked judges to meet in emergency session on Sunday to adjourn the trial. If it had been granted, Ruto could have left The Hague for Nairobi on Sunday evening.
Ruto and Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of crimes against humanity in relation to their role in coordinating a wave of violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country’s contested 2007 elections.
In the filing, lawyers said Ruto was needed at home to help with security briefings and consultations. Kenyatta and Ruto are voluntarily complying with court summonses, but have previously asked to be excused from attending every session in view of the responsibilities attached to the high offices they both hold.
“Mr Ruto … is required to return to Kenya to discharge his ordinary constitutional duties,” lawyers wrote in the filing. “Thereafter, Ruto will be required to deal with the aftermath of such a traumatic and tragic event for Kenya.”
Gunmen from a Somali Islamist group are in a stand-off with Kenyan security forces after bursting into the Westgate mall on Saturday, killing shoppers and taking hostages.