State House calls ‘New York Times’ gutter press over ICC story

By Nzau Musau | Saturday, Jun 25th 2016 at 00:00
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State House yesterday reacted angrily to a story published by the New York Times two days ago discussing President Uhuru Kenyatta's collapsed ICC case.

In the piece headlined "The Prosecutor and the President", former International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo, former Mungiki members and Kenyan and international lawyers are interviewed discussing circumstances under which the case fell.

The article's general tone was that the case collapsed largely due to Ocampo's underestimation of Kenyan political system, lack of thorough investigations, interference with witnesses and Kenyan state's ruthless campaign against the court's activities.

In a wordy statement issued by the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU), State House dismissed the story alongside an article penned by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"The New York Times continues its steady descent into the murky, rancid morass of gutter press and has abandoned all pretence of journalistic decency in pursuit of the Prosecutor's agenda," the statement said.

"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."

According to State House, the long-winded article was advancing a "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 the Office of the Prosecutor is subordinate to a strong penchant for the extraneous."

It chided Ocampo for believing in accounts of "Africa's most vicious, murderous and terrifying organised criminal syndicates", which testified against President Kenyatta.

In the article written by James Verini, Uhuru is painted a picture of a reluctant politician twice groomed for leadership, but who also believed rule was his birthright. The article also says that to many Kenyans, Uhuru embodies the country's inequity.

The article says Ocampo "may have been the greatest obstacle" to ICC's success in Uhuru case and others. Staff at the ICC questioned his judgment, "which seemed always caught between that ego and his idealism."

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