Tags: ICoast | unrest | politics | ICC | Gbagbo

Ex-Leader of Ivory Coast Indicted For Crimes Against Humanity

Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 03:07 PM

The International Criminal Court said Thursday it will try Ivory Coast's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo for crimes against humanity committed during a bloody election standoff.

Two of three judges on a pre-trial panel confirmed the charges and ordered Gbagbo to face trial, but the third judge dissented saying the court has no "realistic chance" of a conviction.

The charges include murder, rape and persecution committed during post-election violence over three years ago in the west African nation that claimed over 3,000 lives in an election dispute that ended in 2011.

Gbagbo, 69, is the first former head of state brought before the court, where he is accused of masterminding a campaign of violence during the presidential vote standoff in the world's largest cocoa producing country.

He maintains that he was removed from office by his rival, current President Alassane Ouattara, thanks to a plot led by former colonial ruler France.

French and U.N. forces backed an assault on Gbagbo's villa in Abidjan after which Ouattara's forces detained him and handed him over to the court.

The charges are for fomenting the wave of violence as he refused to hand over power to election winner Ouattara after 10 years in power. He has denied the charges against him.

The former president is accused of "having engaged his individual criminal responsibility for committing these crimes, jointly with members of his inner circle and through members of the pro-Gbagbo forces," the court said.

 

 

The prosecution says Gbagbo masterminded a plan to "stay in power by all means... through carefully planned, sustained and deadly attacks" against Ouattara supporters.

Between November 28, 2010 and May 8, 2011 Gbagbo's forces killed between 706 and 1,059 people and raped more than 35 women, prosecutors say.

Dissenting judge Christine Van den Wyngaert said she saw no convincing evidence that Gbagbo had an "inner circle" that agreed to commit crimes against civilians. She added that Gbagbo faced an armed uprising from rebels, allied with Ouattara, which could justify sending the military into civilian areas.

Gbagbo's speeches were not necessarily an effort to induce supporters to commit crimes, and money for alleged weapons purchases could also have been justified because Gbagbo faced a revolt, the dissenting judge said.

Gbagbo's lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, welcomed the decision, saying his client wanted "the truth to be known", including about a murky system of French political intervention in Africa put in place in the 1960s to maintain power and influence in its former African colonies.

Human Rights Watch said the court's decision "should remind those in positions of power that they are not immune from justice."

© AFP 2017

 
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The International Criminal Court said Thursday it will try Ivory Coast's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo for crimes against humanity committed during a bloody election standoff.
ICoast, unrest, politics, ICC, Gbagbo
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2014-07-12
Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 03:07 PM
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