THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The start of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's trial for crimes against humanity has been postponed until February 5, the International Criminal Court said on Thursday.
Kenyatta and his deputy, former political rival William Ruto, both face charges at the court relating to the wave of violence that swept Kenya after elections in late 2007, in which 1,200 people died.
Defense lawyers last week asked for the original start date of November 12 to be dropped, saying Kenyatta needed time to deal with the aftermath of the September attack on the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi.
Prosecutors, pressed for time as they attempt to replace witnesses who withdrew in the run-up to the trial, did not contest the defense's request for a postponement in a court submission made on Wednesday.
"The Chamber deeply regrets that repeated adjournments of the trial have been necessary because one or both parties have required more time to prepare," judges wrote in their decision to grant a third successive postponement to Kenyatta's trial.
The case is seen as a test of the credibility of the decade-old court, which is under fire from African leaders who charge it with singling out Africans for prosecution. In Kenya, Kenyatta has been urged to boycott his trial.
(Reporting by Sara Webb and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Alistair Lyon)