Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Trial: What Will happen after Bensouda’s Appeal?

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has decided to appeal the trial chamber’s decision to acquit Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé. Another phase of the process is now beginning.

Bensouda’s announcement to appeal the decision of acquittal of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé, which was issued January 15 of this year, was not surprising.

In an 8-page document written in English, the Gambian lawyer noted “errors” that, according to her, motivated her decision to appeal. After this notice, Bensouda now has 30 days to file the elements that, according to her office, justify the continuation of the lawsuit against the two Ivorians on conditional release.

This “appeal brief” will therefore have to be presented to the Appeals Chamber of the court no later than October 16, 2019. The defense and victims’ lawyers will then have time to provide their response to this prosecutor’s document.

After assessing the submissions by the various parties, the judges of the Appeals Chamber will either reject the appeal and confirm the decision taken at first instance or grant Bensouda’s request and order the resumption of the trial. According to the ICC Public Affairs Unit, judges in the Appeals Chamber will make their decisions “in a timely manner.”

Furthermore, according to the Public Affairs Unit, appeal hearings could be convened in the event that the Appeals Chamber wishes to hear from the parties. 

In the meantime, Gbagbo and Blé Goudé remain on conditional release.

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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.

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