24 October 2018

Cote d'Ivoire: Prosecution - Gbagbo Encouraged the Commission of Crimes

Hearings in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé continued this Tuesday, October 2, 2018. As was the case yesterday, the day was devoted to the prosecution's response to the defenses' requests for dismissal of the case.

This is the second day of hearings since the resumption of the joint trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Led by Eric MacDonald, the prosecution continued to respond to the defenses' "no case to answer" submissions. MacDonald argued that Laurent Gbagbo bore responsibility for the crimes committed in 2010-2011.

"Mr. Gbagbo solicited or encouraged the commission of crimes. A person may solicit or encourage the commission of crimes by giving his implicit or explicit consent. Mr. Gbagbo was determined to stay in power and that means that his instructions to his subordinates continued to be valid. It was necessary to continue the fight," he said.

MacDonald submitted that there is no doubt that Gbagbo was informed that the crimes were being committed. "By issuing such instructions, Mr. Gbagbo knew that in the ordinary course of events, crimes would be committed by his subordinates because he knew that the use of militias such as the GPP and the use of Liberian fighters would cause crimes. His orders and instructions had a direct impact on the commission of the crimes," MacDonald submitted.

"In our written reply, we demonstrate how Mr. Gbagbo encouraged the commission of crimes through intermediaries or through statements before and during the crisis. Creating a climate where the use of violence by Mr. Gbagbo's forces was allowed," he noted.

As he did on the first day of hearing, MacDonald spent several hours reviewing the testimonies and evidence presented by the prosecution throughout this trial. The lawyer explained to the judges why the prosecution considers that the trial must continue and result in the conviction of the former head of state.

The "Common Plan" Issue

The prosecution also addressed Charles Blé Goudé's alleged criminal responsibility.

"As a recognized leader of the Young Patriots, Mr. Blé Goudé undertook to mobilize the youths to commit acts of violence and influenced the militias. The instructions he gave to the youths before the incidents had a direct effect on the commission of crimes," MacDonald said.

According to MacDonald, there was a chain of command in place to keep the power, come what may.

"Mr. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were not only members of this group but they were the leaders and the main beneficiaries. Mr. Gbagbo is at the heart of common design. They organized the criminal activities of the group," he said.

The prosecution will complete its submissions on Wednesday, October 3, 2018. Then it will be the turn of the Legal Representative of Victims to speak. The hearing ends on October 5th.

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