ICC Prosecutor appeals against Gbagbo’s release

Thursday 19th September, 2019
International Criminal Court (ICC

By Desmond Davies, GNA London Bureau Chief

London, Sept. 19, GNA – The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Court in The Hague has appealed against the freeing of the former President of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, and his then Minister for Sports and Youth, Charles Blé Goudé, by the war crimes court, in January, this year.

Both men were cleared of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Cote d’Ivoire during post-election violence between 2010 and 2011.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had said in January that she would lodge an appeal once the decision of the Trial Chamber to acquit was written up

“Only after we have had the opportunity to carefully examine and analyse their reasoning will my Office make a decision to appeal,” she said.

In a document presented to the Appeals Chamber this week, the OTP noted: “The appeal will demonstrate that the Trial Chamber committed legal and procedural errors which led to the acquittals of Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé on all counts.”

The appeal said the OTP would show that the decision taken by the judges “was legally and procedurally defective such that it cannot have the legal effect of dismissing all charges against Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé.”, adding: “The Majority’s decision to acquit must be considered null and void, and Mr Gbagbo’s and Mr Blé Goudé’s acquittals set aside.”

After their acquittal on January 15, the two men were kept in detention, which legal experts said was unprecedented, until the Appeals Chamber ordered their conditional release in February.

Mr Gbagbo is living in Belgium, one of the conditions of his release.

Mr Blé Goudé lives in The Hague.

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) said that it had been “amenable” to the release of the two men “with a set of conditions attached”.

The OTP said “these conditions would be to ensure” that Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé “would be available before the Court should the trial proceedings against them continue”.

The judges also ruled that both men should “surrender all identity documents, particularly their passports, to the Registry”.

They were also to “report weekly to the law enforcement authorities of the receiving state or the Registry”.

Another condition was for Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé “not to make public statements, directly or through any other person, about the case or be in contact with the public or speak to the press concerning the case”.