The International Criminal Court will decide on January 23 whether six high-profile Kenyans, including presidential contenders Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, should be tried for crimes against humanity, it said on Friday.

The decision by the Hague-based court - whose proceedings have been closely followed in Kenya - could have far-reaching political consequences for the biggest economy in east Africa.

The six politicians and officials are suspected of orchestrating the violence that followed a disputed election in December 2007, in which at least 1,200 people died and hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes.

If either finance minister Kenyatta or former cabinet minister Ruto, or both men, have to go on trial at the international war crimes court, it could hit their chances of running for president in the next election.

However, if Kenyans feel that the court's decision is unfair or fails to hold those responsible for violence accountable, it could lead to angry protests or fresh violence.

Kenya's High Court has ruled that the presidential election should be held in March 2013, not this August as stipulated in the constitution, nor in December as proposed by the government.

The court also ruled, however, that if the coalition government is dissolved there would be an election within 60 days and the executive has since come under pressure to arrange for a vote this year.

(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Maria Golovnina)