Gbagbo Trial: Why It’s Not Over Yet

Acquitted by the trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC), former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has been on conditional release since January. However, proceedings against him are not yet over.

In January 2019, after nearly eight years of proceedings before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted by Trial Chamber I of the court.

Tried for crimes against humanity, along with his loyal lieutenant Charles Blé Goudé, the former Ivorian President has been conditionally released and has lived in Belgium for several weeks.

Living with his partner, Nady Bamba, the founding member of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) has been holding meetings with relatives and political allies while avoiding making public appearances, unlike Charles Blé Goudé.

However, proceedings against the man nicknamed “Woody de Mama” are not over yet, and nothing in the current state of affairs can give any indication as to the date on which the final outcome of the trial might occur.

In fact, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is expected to appeal this decision. The Gambian jurist, for this purpose, is still awaiting written notification of the decision of the trial chamber presided over by Judge Cuno Tarfusser and his reasons. After that date, she has one month to appeal.

“The Prosecutor will decide on whether she will appeal within 30 days after the written decision indicating the reasons for the acquittal decision is notified,” said Fadi El Abdallah, spokesperson for the court in an email to our editorial staff.

According to the ICC official, the notification of Bensouda’s decision will be made “in due time by the Chamber when the written decision is ready.”

It can therefore be said that the epilogue of the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé case before the International Criminal Court will not be over soon. Some experts on the Ivorian political scene firmly believe that it is conceivable that the procedure will not completed before the October 2020 presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire.

Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé were charged with four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, and other inhumane acts, or – in the alternative – attempted murder and persecution stemming from post-electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011. On January 15, 2019 Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were acquitted of all crimes.

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.