The International Criminal Court is due to rule this Wednesday, 31 March 2021, on the acquittals of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbabgo and former leader of the Young Patriots, Charles Blé Goudé. They were both acquitted, at first instance, in early 2019.
While the former Ivorian President, Laurent Gbabgo, and the former leader of the Young Patriots, Charles Blé Goudé, were both acquitted, in first instance, in early 2019, the International Criminal Court is due to rule, this Wednesday 31 March 2021, on their « releases ».
The two Ivorian personalities were prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes, in the context of the violence committed between December 2010 and April 2011. These charges followed the announcement of the results of the presidential elections in favour of the current head of state, Alassane Ouattara.
In this fast-moving trial, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s aim is to show that Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé were members of a « restricted circle », which had put in place a « common plan to remain in power », after the publication of the results of the Presidential election in late 2010. The charges against them therefore had to be supported by the fact that they had caused acts of violence to be committed.
This was refuted by the former Ivorian president’s lawyers, who insisted that the prosecutor did not have enough evidence to link the victims to the alleged incidents in this trial. Gbagbo’s counsel even questioned the independence and reliability of the forensic evidence presented by the prosecutor. The judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber had no choice but to acquit Gbagbo and Blé Goudé, notably because of an « exceptional weakness » in the prosecution’s case.
Since then, Laurent Gbagbo is in Belgium and can not return to Côte d’Ivoire, as Charles Blé Goudé who is in the Netherlands, both at the disposal of the International Criminal Court, which will have to make its decision this Wednesday, following the request of the office of the prosecutor to the Appeals Chamber to reclassify the decision taken in first instance, to conclude to a dismissal, denouncing « procedural flaws.