International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

A Witness at The ICC: ‘You Are The Only Hope For Us’

The International Criminal Court (ICC) heard testimony from two witnesses this Wednesday, November 15, 2017, in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial. The witnesses were two victims that spoke about the events that occurred in April 2011 in Mami Faitai, a Yopougon sub-district.

In a hearing on November 15, the International Criminal Court (ICC) saw two witnesses in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial. These were Abdoulaye Doumbia and Camara Fatoumata.

Doumbia, born in 1954 and originally from Séguélon in northern Côte d’Ivoire, appeared deeply moved. Sobbing at times, the witness explained how the loss of his two sons, who were killed along with several other young people from Mami Faitai, negatively impacted his life.

“Really, I could not go into details. The death of my children affected me. I suffered from headaches for four years. However, I must express myself even though it will be hard for me. These children were everything to me. These children started working to look after me, so imagine…They were everything to me. They gave me food and took care of the children at school,” he said.

As neighborhood head at the time of the events, Doumbia testified about his role in Mami Faitai during the second round of the Ivorian presidential election.

“A leader does not play politics,” he said. “The chief’s only concern is the neighborhood. Being a leader and being a member of a political party is not the same thing. If there are problems in the neighborhood, we come together to solve it. The leader belongs to the whole community.”

Completing his testimony, the 63-year-old man stressed the importance of the ICC.

“May God guarantee longevity for you. If you had not been there, our children would be dead for nothing. I thank the Office of the Prosecutor, everybody. Someone who works well is to be congratulated. You are the only hope for us. You helped us a lot. Since the death of the children, I have not received anything. We ask for help. May God make you move forward. May he make everything go for the best,” he said.

Camara Fatoumata told the court that she had lost two brothers during the post-election violence. She concluded her testimony by referring in particular to the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the bodies of 18 people at Mami Faitai.

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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, 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.

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