Several weeks after the suspension of the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is reportedly ready to requalify the charges against the former Ivorian president.
Detained at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for nearly seven years, former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, who is being prosecuted on four counts of crimes against humanity, could see the horizon look brighter.
The generally well-informed French website Mediapart wrote in an article posted online on February 15, 2018 that Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, might support a requalification of charges in this case.
“The trial of the former Ivorian president and his former minister Charles Blé Goudé before the International Criminal Court is entering a decisive phase: the judges have asked the Prosecutor, whose witnesses have been heard, to update her brief, almost seeming to suggest that she should requalify, or even drop, the charges,” the French website announced.
Based on the judges’ latest decision in the case the site said the Gambian jurist was “terribly embarrassed” by this situation.
“According to several sources, Fatou Bensouda, under pressure, is reportedly willing to make concessions in the Gbagbo / Blé Goudé case and thus pull the ICC out of the trap she helped to build and which is currently closing in on her. To go in this direction, she obviously needs the green light of those who worked to bring Laurent Gbagbo to the ICC,” adds Mediapart.
Still according to the site, which specializes in the publication of confidential information, “these people will soon have no choice but accept that this incredible legal scandal be put to an end.”
For her part, Bensouda seems to be getting ready for the rest of the trial. For the time being, no date is known for the resumption of proceedings, but now is the time to prepare the appearance of defense witnesses at court.
In this regard, the prosecutor requested, in a court filing published on February 13, to receive information concerning this important phase of the trial from the two accused’s defense teams. This includes the identity of the witnesses as well as the expected duration of the interrogations.
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.