ICC prosecutor appeals acquittal of ex-Ivory Coast president, Laurent Gbagbo
London, Sep 17, 2019 (AltAfrica)-International Criminal Court prosecutors have appealed against the acquittal of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo and a youth minister on charges of involvement in deadly post-election violence.
On 15 January 2019, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”), by majority, Judge Herrera Carbuccia dissenting, issued an oral decision acquitting Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Blé Goudé from all charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire in 2010 and 2011.
And on 16 July 2019, Trial Chamber I issued its full reasons for the decision. The Majority, composed of Judge Tarfusser and Judge Henderson provided a detailed analysis of the evidence in Judge Henderson’s reasons (Annex B). Judge Tarfusser has also separately set out his reasons and additional reflections on the case (Annex A). The reasons for Judge Herrera Carbuccia’s dissenting opinion can be found in Annex C.
According to AP, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a written notice of appeal that the reasons judges gave for their acquittals were “legally and procedurally defective” and urged appeals judges to declare a mistrial.
More than 3,000 people were killed in 2010 and 2011 after Gbagbo refused to accept his electoral defeat to current Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo and Ble Goude pleaded not guilty to four charges of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and persecution.
How the ex Ivory Coast president lost his grip on power
October 2010 High voter turnout boosts hopes that this election will end the country’s post-civil war division. Campaigning gets under way as thousands of troops are deployed across the country. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister Alassane Ouattara take just over a third of the vote each and move to a second round of polling.
November Voting takes place under a tense curfew, as the chief of the UN operation says he is “confident that the Ivorian people will surprise the world pleasantly with the runoff”. However, the electoral commission is split, with Gbagbo’s representatives physically restraining colleagues from announcing the result to journalists.
December The Constitutional Council names Gbagbo the winner, but the electoral commission names Ouattara who is immediately recognised by the UN, United States, and the EU. On 4 December, both Gbagbo and Ouattara are sworn in as president in separate ceremonies. Within a week, the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union suspend Ivory Coast. On 16 December, supporters of Ouattara in Abidjan are fired on by Gbagbo’s forces as they march on a television station. Ouattara establishes a headquarters at a beachfront hotel under the protection of UN troops.
January As 2,000 extra UN troops arrive in the country, the United States freezes Laurent Gbagbo’s assets. The UN says 247 people have died in the conflict so far.
February The EU extends sanctions against the Gbagbo regime as clashes continue in Abidjan. On 22 December, African Union representatives meet both Gbagbo and Ouattara amid an escalating violence in Abidjan.
March The AU confirms the legitimacy of Ouattara’s election win. In the west, the Forces Nouvelles movement, loyal to Ouattara, makes military gains as the UN warns that half a million people have been displaced by fighting. In Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States holds a conference on the Ivorian crisis.
April Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, meets Laurent Gbagbo in an attempt to begin mediation in the conflict. On 5 April, the UN launches air attacks on Gbagbo’s positions as Ouattara says he hopes to advance rapidly to end the fighting. Under the auspices of the UN, French helicopters attack Gbagbo’s palace on 9 April. On 11 April, a French source announces the arrest of Gbagbo by Ouattara’s forces backed by UN and French forces.