Blé Goudé’s Defense Requests “Total Acquittal”

Charles Blé Goudé’s defense continued presenting arguments for Blé Goudé’s dismissal before the judges of the International Criminal Court.

“Total acquittal.” This is what the defense of Charles Blé Goudé requests of the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC), where the former leader of the Young Patriots is tried for crimes against humanity. At the hearing on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, members of the defense team of Laurent Gbagbo‘s last Youth Minister defended this position.

According to Cameroonian lawyer Juliette Kadji, the Prosecutor failed to demonstrate Blé Goudé’s incitement to hatred. The lawyer considers that the file presented by Fatou Bensouda is solely based on deductions and allegations.

The defense argued that the prosecution had so utterly failed to establish its assertions that “we will not even say beyond reasonable doubt. There is not even any doubt, because nothing has been demonstrated or established, which results in the emptiness of the Prosecutor’s case. I ask for total acquittal for Mr. Charles Blé Goudé. And justice will be done,” said Kadji.

Before reaching this conclusion, Kadji added that the Prosecutor “refuses to see social cohesion advocated by Charles Blé Goudé.”

N’Dri Claver, an Ivorian lawyer for Charles Blé Goudé, also took the floor. Like his colleague, he invited the judges to acquit his client.

“Has the Prosecutor demonstrated that the alleged meeting of 24 February 2011 at the presidential residence was preparatory to the Baron Bar meeting? You will be asked this question, and the answer will be “no.” Could the Prosecutor have shown to your chamber that the incidents in Yopougon were the result of the Baron Bar meeting? Another “no”! Did the Prosecutor prove that Baron Bar’s speech was inflammatory and was the cause of the violence at the roadblocks? “No” again. Did the Prosecutor prove that the roadblocks were part of a criminal system or network? Another “no”! What will be the consequence of all this? No case to answer. There is no need for the defense to answer,” he said.

Bensouda Opposes a Statement by Blé Goudé

Blé Goudé wished to speak at the hearing on Thursday, November 22, 2018. However, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opposed this request.

She informed the judges in writing in a motion dated November 20, 2018. Bensouda argued that the former student leader could use this platform to convey “political messages.”

Moreover, for Fatou Bensouda, the accused has already had the opportunity to express himself before the court. “Any statement by Mr. Blé Goudé is not legal. He is therefore unable to help the chamber in any meaningful way,” read the Prosecutor’s document.

It will be up to the court, chaired by Cuno Tarfusser, to decide on the issue.

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.