Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé’s defense teams continued interrogating Sanogo Broulay this Tuesday, December 6, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The witness clarified the circumstances of his arrest during the march on the RTI. He also explained how he had been “encouraged” to testify before the ICC, receiving financial and moral assistance from certain intermediaries.
The witness talked a lot to people around him about what happened to him. He talked to representatives of the Red Cross, UNOCI, and the City of Treichville, among others. However, one name that Sanogo Broulay especially remembered was Issiaka Diaby, Chairman of the Collective of Cote d’Ivoire victims (CVCI).
“He encourages us, motivates us,” assured the witness this Tuesday before the Court. “He helped me too much, morally, financially,” he continued, responding to Gbagbo’s defense.
“Did Mr. Diaby tell you about the ICC?” asked Emmanuel Altit, the accused’s lawyer.
“He told me I would come and testify,” the witness explained. The lawyer also wanted to know if the man had “promised him something in exchange for his testimony.”
“He did not promise. He only told me if we finish testifying, they will find a common ground to support us a little,” admitted Sanogo Broulay.
Prior to these revelations, the witness provided a detailed account of the circumstances of his arrest on December 16, 2010. Sanogo Broulay recounted how he had gone to Treichville by Wôro-Wôro with two friends that day in order to “see what was happening at the RTI” and “go to visit the Gulf,” because “people talked about it in the neighborhood.” But when they got to Cocody Saint Jean station, the three friends allegedly got scared by the number of uniformed men deployed there and decided to turn back. They then boarded another taxi, which was heading for Adjame.
The witness denounces a staging
Both defense teams found inconsistencies in the witness’s narrative. For example, Jean-Serge Gbougnon, a lawyer for the accused, wanted to know why the witness had gone to a yellow Wôro Wôro on his way back, since these taxis served only the commune of Cocody. Likewise, the lawyer asked why, while the driver was supposed to drive to Adjame, none of the three friends had worried about him going through Riviera, located exactly in the opposite direction.
The witness had difficulties answering all these questions. On several occasions he referred to the fact that the driver wanted to “deviate” from the road due to security forces checkpoints.
It was precisely at one of these checkpoints that the Wôro Wôro had allegedly been stopped, at Marie Thérèse crossroads, not far from the Gulf Hotel. After checking the car occupants’ ID, members of the Defense and Security forces (FDS), some of them hooded and wearing fatigues, tried to arrest the three friends. His two companions managed to escape, but the witness was caught at the second checkpoint and taken back to his pursuers. Then the FDS allegedly did some staging. Sanogo Broulay said he was beaten up and tied up. Afterwards, the uniformed men placed weapons and amulets in front of him before photographing him. “This was a way of charging me, of saying I was a spy from the Gulf Hotel,” said the witness.
“The witness has never been to the MACA”
The witness explained that he was transferred to Cocody gendarmerie, then to the police headquarters, and finally to the MACA. He was freed on December 31 after going through court. According to the defense, the problem was that the “only proof” that the witness was at MACA was his exeat. But the information on this document “did not at all correspond with” Sanogo Broulay’s, noted Emmanuel Altit: the name, date of birth, his father’s and mother’s names were different.
The witness replied that as he was beaten up, “he got scared” and gave the police a false name. Blé Goudé’s defense did not find this explanation convincing. They were surprised: the witness had said that the FDS had taken his papers, how could they have made errors transcribing these elements?
“I am going to demonstrate to you that the witness never went to the MACA,” argued Gbougon, as the judge rejected this question.
Once the last questions were asked and to close this rich day, a new witness appeared this afternoon. Bakayoko Kaladjy was asked to state his identity and solemnly swore to tell the truth before the court. His interrogation starts Wednesday morning with questions from the Office of the Prosecutor.
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.