Kenya has written to the UN Security Council seeking to scrap the international crimes against humanity trials for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice President William Ruto.
“What this delegation is asking for is not deferral,” Kenya’s ambassador to the UN, Macharia Kamau, wrote in a letter to the Council seen by AFP news agency on Thursday.
Kenyatta, 51, voted into power in March elections, is to go on trial in July at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for crimes against humanity relating to post-election violence in 2007-08.
Ruto, 46, faces three counts of crimes against humanity for his role in deadly violence.
“What this delegation is asking for is for the immediate termination of the case at The Hague.”
The letter, dated May 2 and stamped confidential, is the first such official request for the cases to be dropped.
However, while the Security Council can ask for a case to be deferred for a year, it does not have the authority to order the ICC drop a case completely.
Kenya however appealed to “friendly nations to use their good offices and prevail upon the International Criminal Court to reconsider the continued process”.
What began as political riots quickly turned into ethnic killings and reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave of violence since independence in 1963.
The letter warned that continuing with the trials would risk destabilising Kenya.
“Kenyans… spoke with a loud, clear, concise voice when they overwhelmingly elected Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as president and deputy president,” it said.
“It is obvious that their absence from the country may undermine the prevailing peace and any resultant insecurity may spill over to the neighbouring countries.”