Proceedings Suspended Until 2018

The hearings in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé have been suspended until next January. The proceedings that took place on Thursday, December 7, in The Hague were the last ones for the year 2017.

Charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé will no longer attend the hearing rooms of the international judicial body in 2017.

In fact, the hearing held on Thursday, December 7, was the last of the year 2017. At the end of discussions with Professor Frédéric Blonbled, an expert in forensic science, Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser announced the suspension of the trial.

“So what do I have to do now? Well, adjourn. We shall resume on January 17, 2018, 9:30 am,” said the Italian judge.

The judge also announced that the January 17 hearing would be devoted to the beginning of the testimony of Fatou Bensouda’s final witness. So, in early 2018 we could see the first defense witnesses in this trial.

The litany of witnesses called by the prosecution began on February 3, 2016 with Witness 547, and it ended today after nearly two years of proceedings.

Regarding the witness’s testimony, it was based, as from its beginning, on the medical conclusions of his activity in Côte d’Ivoire in October 2013.

Questioned by the two defendants’ defense teams throughout this day, the witness said that the final reports of his mission were given to his “employer.”

On several occasions, the witness explained that the conclusions of these examinations as well as the identity of the persons examined were “confidential”. As a result, the hearing was marked by several closed sessions in order to preserve the identity of the persons benefiting from protective measures.

Conducted in October 2013 in Abidjan at the request of the ICC ‘s Office of the Prosecutor, Professor Blonbled’s mission, it should be noted, was to confirm the allegations of injuries related to the post-election crisis by some Ivorian victims.

“These were email contacts to communicate documents, written assignments. These were incentives to finalize my work. I do not remember any other contacts made in this mission,” explained the witness when he was questioned about his relations with the Office of the Prosecutor.

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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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