November 10th was the third and last day of testimony for Firmin Detoh Letho before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The retired soldier, who was questioned by Charles Blé Goudé’s defense, exposed contradictions between himself and Philippe Mangou.
On the last day of Firmin Detoh Letho’s testimony before the International Criminal Court (ICC), the former head of the Ivorian Land Forces was questioned by the defense team for Charles Blé Goudé and by Judge Cuno Tarfusser.
Judge Tarfusser asked the prosecution witness about statements made to the court by Philippe Mangou. During Mangou’s testimony, the judge said, the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces had said that Detoh Letho had an operational function.
“False!” retorted the witness, who reaffirmed that he was not on the ground and answered his former superior.
“My role was a supervisory role. What I did was report to the General about the difficulties on the ground with the zone leaders. If he wanted to talk to them, he went through me and I called the zone chief concerned. That’s what I did and I played fair. If the General said that I was on the ground, for all the respect I have for him, he did not tell the truth. Other witnesses can come and testify,” said the witness.
Another contradiction between the two generals is the question of communications between Mangou and some of Detoh Letho’s subordinates. In his testimony, Mangou had indicated that “such a telephone conversation could never have taken place” due to respect for authority.
Detoh Letho, however, said Mangou, the former Chief of Staff, had an exchange with his deputy, Lieutenant-Colonel Niamkey, about the March 4, 2011 women’s march in Abobo.
“I am sorry to say once more that General Mangou is not telling the truth,” he told the court.
The witness also testified about the relations between Charles Blé Goudé and the military command.
“We never talked about Blé Goudé regarding the equipment. We went to review the situation with the President of the Republic and we told him that we need equipment. During this meeting, he said that he would solve this problem with the Chief of Staff… At the last moment, he [the Chief of Staff] told us that the President of the Republic had ordered him to see Mr. Blé Goudé. It was relative to the question of means,” he explained, indicating that Blé Goudé “never participated in meetings on military means.”
“Our Soldiers Were Approached”
During his testimony, the former Inspector General of the Armed Forces revealed to the court that the Ouattara camp attempted to turn several members of the Ivorian forces.
“We had information saying that our soldiers were approached to be bought,” he said. “Following this information, I wanted to educate my men. It was about those who were facing us… Our enemies wanted to buy our soldiers. This was the information we received.” According to Firmin Detoh Letho, these attempts took place “after the elections,” he added.
As soon as the general’s testimony was completed, the court began to hear testimony from the next witness, Balo Adama. The witness was questioned about facts that happened in Abobo. He testified via video-conference.
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.