ICC prosecutors see Kenyatta trial delayed to August

AMSTERDAM Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:49am EST

Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta speaks during the second presidential debate at Brookhouse School in Kenya's capital Nairobi, February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Joan Pereruan/Nation Media Group/Handout

Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta speaks during the second presidential debate at Brookhouse School in Kenya's capital Nairobi, February 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Joan Pereruan/Nation Media Group/Handout

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The trial of Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity is unlikely to begin until August, international prosecutors said on Tuesday, a delay that would leave him freer to run in the election's second round.

Kenyatta is running neck and neck with Prime Minister Raila Odinga in opinion polls ahead of the March 4 election. A second-round run-off would take place in April.

A former finance minister and the son of the country's founding president, Kenyatta is one of four accused at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of orchestrating tribal fighting that killed 1,200 people after the last vote in 2007.

He has pledged to attend his trial in the Hague.

His defense team says prosecutors have failed to disclose information relevant to the defense in a timely fashion, making it impossible for the trial to start on April 11 as planned.

"The Prosecution recognizes that logistical constraints such as courtroom availability make a trial on 11 April 2013 unlikely," the prosecution said in a filing on Tuesday.

It said it did not object to a "reasonable" adjournment, acknowledging August as a workable target.

ICC judges have not yet agreed to any postponement of the trial.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Additional reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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