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State House rebukes paper, Annan on ICC

Saturday June 25 2016

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan addresses a press conference in Nairobi on October 11, 2012. This week, Mr Annan questioned the way the ICC handled the Kenya cases and said President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto should not have been free during their cases. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan addresses a press conference in Nairobi on October 11, 2012. This week, Mr Annan questioned the way the ICC handled the Kenya cases and said President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto should not have been free during their cases. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BERNARD NAMUNANE
By BERNARD NAMUNANE
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State House has sharply criticised a United States media house and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for comments made about President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was also on the receiving end with State House accusing him of failing to understand the legal mandate of The Hague court.

A statement by the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) claimed there was a global campaign by the ICC and Mr Moreno-Ocampo to discredit President Kenyatta even after charges against him were dropped.

It accused the New York Times of being used as a platform by those spearheading the campaign.

State House accused the newspaper of relying on information from people who could not be trusted.

“Relying on the fanciful accounts of unreliable individuals, discarding all attempts at balance and fairness, the Times plies a malicious, vindictive and unprofessional article on the ICC cases,” it said.

The statement describes the former ICC prosecutor as “a man who loves drama with a little grasp of what entailed his role”.

“It is advancing the self-serving and deluded notions of Luis Moreno-Ocampo, a man whose understanding of the Rome Statute is slippery, and whose appreciation of the legal mandate of the ICC and Office of the Prosecutor is subordinate to a strong penchant for the extraneous,” it said.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published an article in which it claimed Mr Moreno-Ocampo had lined up former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga as his main witness against the President.

He said the case hinged on Mr Njenga and his people, although some Office of the Prosecutor staff worried about their reliability after President Kenyatta’s lawyer claimed the first two witnesses tried to extort him in exchange for information they said that could help the defence and, when he refused, threatened him.

“Especially crucial were three confidential Mungiki ‘linkage’ witnesses. One claimed he saw Mr Kenyatta at meetings where attacks were planned; another, that he was told of these meetings, though he wasn’t present; and a third, that he met with Kenyatta beforehand to discuss violence,” the article stated.

On Friday, State House faulted the paper for failing to interview Mr Dennis Itumbi, the Digital Director with PSCU, who is mentioned in the story.

Without naming Mr Annan in the statement but only in the headline, State House claimed the ICC cases were orchestrated by external forces.

This week, Mr Annan questioned the way the ICC handled the Kenya cases and said President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto should not have been free during their cases.

“The President and Vice-President were the ones in the dock and so they put lots of efforts and resources into fighting the case,” he said.