The trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé resumed on Tuesday, August 30, at the International Criminal Court. After a very brief private session, the chamber finally suspended the session until tomorrow morning. The judges expected the Victims and Witnesses Unit to assess the protection measures to give the next witnesses.
There was an electric atmosphere at the resumption of the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial in The Hague after more than a month recess. Sixty supporters of the former Ivorian President on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity gathered in the room to follow this autumn session. Smiling and waving to his audience, Laurent Gbagbo appeared fit alongside his co-accused Charles Blé Goudé.
Resumption in closed-door session
Only a few minutes after the opening of the hearing, the judges announced a closed-door session. After hearing all the parties, the judges deliberated and finally decided to order the Victims and Witnesses Unit to send an email before 13:00 this Tuesday to evaluate the security measures to be granted to future witnesses. As a consequence, the trial chamber announced the suspension of the session until the following morning, Wednesday, August 31. Before the hearing of the next witness, the chamber will make a decision as to issues relating to witness security.
The judges then asked if there were objections to what was discussed. Geert-Jan Alexander Knoops, one of Blé Goudé’s defense lawyers, challenged the chamber, asking, “How can the defense raise objections?” while no formal written document has been proposed.
“You raise your objections if you have any to raise. I’m done,” Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser finally concluded, before walking out of the room. Behind the glass, the crowd then stood to sing in chorus the national anthem in support of the former Head of State, before the curtains were closed.
Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are charged with four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, and other inhumane acts, or – in the alternative – attempted murder and persecution. The accused allegedly committed these crimes during post-electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011.
This summary comes from Ivoire Justice , a project of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), which offers monitoring and commentary on the ICC’s proceedings arising from the post-election violence that occurred in Cote d’Ivoire in 2010-2011. It has been translated into English for use on International Justice Monitor.