Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), had 30 days from February 9, 2018 to file her observations after the conclusion of evidence from the prosecution witnesses in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial. The Gambian jurist did not wait for the deadline to expire.
After the appearance of Professor Hélène Etté, the last prosecution witness in the joint trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, the judges invited Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to present her observations on the procedure and her evidence at the latest 30 days after February 9.
The Gambian jurist sent her brief to the judges on March 19, 2018. The document called “mid-trial brief” made clarifications in appendices on the various events alleged against Laurent Gbagbo and his former Youth Minister.
The prosecutor explained:
The Mid-Trial Brief is structured into ten parts. Part I is this Introduction. Part II describes the Common Plan and the early stages of its development and implementation. Part III sets out the contextual elements for crimes against humanity. Part IV describes the pro-Gbagbo forces used to commit crimes. Parts V-VII contain the narratives of the crimes charged…Part VIII deals with the elements of the crimes charged. Parts IX and X address the individual criminal responsibility of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé, respectively.
The former minister of Yaya Jammeh also said that the team she led had tried to be as “concise” as possible. “The Prosecution has endeavoured to be as concise and detailed as possible, while applying the requisites of the Chamber, but the volume and wealth of evidence, the number of charges, incidents and modes of liability in this case are such that it was necessary to exceed the recommended 300 page limit.”
However, the prosecutor considered that the excess was justified. “The Prosecution notes that the excess of pages will provide additional details as to the substance of the evidence as presented during the Prosecution’s case and assist the Chamber in the exercise of its trial management functions”, added Bensouda.
The prosecutor also indicated that this brief was not her last comment before the court. “The Prosecution emphasises that this Mid-Trial Brief is also not a closing brief submitted at the end of the case, and cannot be considered as such. As stated by the Chamber in its Order, this Brief is meant to be an ‘auxiliary tool’ for the benefit of the Chamber, Parties and participants,” the brief said.
As a reminder, Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are tried for crimes against humanity and have been waiting for several weeks for their trial to resume before the ICC, with defense witnesses being called to testify.
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.