Altit Calls for ‘Gbagbo’s Immediate Release’

In a July 23 motion, Emmanuel Altit, Laurent Gbagbo’s lead counsel, asked the trial chamber hearing the case concerning the former Ivorian president to dismiss all charges against his client.

As they had said in previous months, the defense team of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo are to plead for acquittal in his trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

In a motion dated July 23, 2018, Emmanuel Altit, senior lawyer of Laurent Gbagbo’s Lead Counsel also called on the judges to dismiss the case and to release him.

According to the French lawyer, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has failed to prove the crimes alleged against the former head of state. According to the five-page request submitted to Judge Cuno Tarfusser and his colleagues, documents prepared as annexes by the defense justify this position.

“In the Defense submissions annexed to the present request, it is shown that the evidence presented by the Prosecutor against Laurent Gbagbo in the context of his case does not make it possible to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt,” explained Altit.

The motion goes on:

It is stated, in particular, that the Prosecutor did not, after the presentation of her case, prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  • As alleged in her MTB [mid-trial brief], the way the four main incidents unfolded (December 16, 2010, March 3, 2011, March 17, 2011 and April 12, 2011);
  • The unfolding, as alleged in her MTB, of the 29 additional incidents that she presents as the contextual element of crimes against humanity;
  • The existence of a single element under the criminal responsibility of Laurent Gbagbo which would tend to show that there existed a ”common plan,” an ” immediate entourage ” with the objective of implementing this “common plan,” any criminal intent, unlawful order, incitement to commit a crime or more simply the slightest breach of duty on the part of the President of the Republic.

Based on this argument, the Altit concluded: “The Chamber should find that the elements presented by the Prosecutor against Laurent Gbagbo in his case do not make it possible to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt.”

As a reminder, in a hearing scheduled for next October the judges of the trial chamber are to decide on the continuation of the trial, in particular, on the motion for acquittal filed by Gbagbo’s defense team.

On this occasion, the prosecutor will also have the opportunity to justify her charges against the former Ivorian president, who is tried together with his close associate, Charles Blé Goudé, for crimes against humanity.


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 Observateur Citoyen, 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.