12 June 2014

Cote d'Ivoire: ICC Confirms Charges Against Ivorian Ex-President

Photo: ICC-CPI/AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Former president Laurent Gbagbo at his first appearance in the Hague Court.

Arusha — The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday confirmed four charges against former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo and committed him to trial, according to an ICC press release.

Gbagbo is charged with crimes against humanity (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or - in the alternative - attempted murder, and persecution) in connection with post-election violence in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010 and 2011. The Court's decision was by a majority of the three judges sitting in the pre-trial chamber.

Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC on November 30, 2011 and his first appearance was on December 5 the same year. Following confirmation of charges hearings from February 19 to 28, 2013, the pre-trial chamber adjourned the hearings and asked the Prosecutor to bring more evidence or conduct new investigations.

The court then received additional elements of evidence and observations from the Prosecutor, to which the defence also responded. Evidence submitted by the parties included statements from 108 witnesses, more than 22,000 pages of documentary evidence, and a large amount of audio and video material.

The court concluded Thursday that there was enough evidence to bring the case to trial on the four charges. Gbagbo's alleged crimes were committed in the Ivorian capital Abidjan as follows: between December 16 and 19, 2010, during and after a march on the national radio and TV by supporters of his rival Alassane Ouattara; on March 3, 2011 at a women's demonstration in Abobo; on March 17, 2011 by shelling a densely populated area in Abobo; and on or around April 12, 2011 in Yopougon.

Gbagbo is accused of individual responsibility for these crimes, committed jointly with members of his inner circle and members of forces that supported him. The defence may ask leave to appeal the confirmation of charges decision. If it is confirmed, Gbagbo will be the first ex-president to be tried by the ICC.

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