International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Simone Gbagbo Acquitted by the Abidjan Assize Court: Between the Independence of the Judiciary and a Political Twist to Save the Day

Simone Gbagbo, wife of former Ivorian Head of State Laurent Gbagbo, has been on trial before Ivorian court for the past ten months for crimes against humanity after being sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in 2016 for undermining state security during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Since February 2012, she has also been subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for four counts of crimes against humanity for acts allegedly committed during the post-election period. Côte d’Ivoire refused to transfer her because it considered that Ms. Gbagbo could be tried at the local level for the same charges. At the same time, her husband Laurent Gbagbo and their political party’s youth leader, Charles Blé Goudé, have … Continue Reading

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Acquittement de Simone Gbagbo par la Cour d’Assises d’Abidjan: Entre Independance de la Justice et Pirouette Politique our Sauver les Meubles

Simone Gbagbo, épouse de l’ancien chef d’Etat Ivoirien Laurent Gbagbo était poursuivie par la justice ivoirienne depuis dix mois pour des crimes contre l’humanité, après sa condamnation à 20 ans d’emprisonnement en 2016 pour des faits d’atteinte à la sûreté de l’Etat durant la crise post-électorale de 2010-2011 en Côte d’Ivoire. Depuis février 2012, elle fait l’objet d’un mandat d’arrêt de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) pour quatre chefs de crimes contre l’humanité pour des faits qui auraient été commis lors de la période post-électorale. La Côte d’Ivoire a refusé de la transférer car elle considérait que Mme Gbagbo pouvait être jugée au niveau local pour les mêmes faits. Dans le même temps, son époux Laurent Gbagbo et le leader … Continue Reading

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Evariste Yaké’s Testimony Completed in Two Days

Evariste Yaké, a former Gbagbo supporter who became a Ouattara activist, finished his testimony on Wednesday, April 5th. The prosecution explored the witness’s reports with Charles Blé Goudé and the Patriotic Galaxy while the defense focused on exposing the opportunistic nature of his political career.

At the opening of the hearing on Tuesday, trial lawyer Lucio Garcia questioned Evariste Yaké about the Plateau agoras in Abidjan, which served as echo chambers for Laurent Gbagbo’s campaign, and continued to explore the composition of the various youth movements advocating for his cause. “What was the Patriotic Galaxy?” he asked, getting a vague answer.

“They were all those who loved Laurent Gbagbo and who were convinced that he was the right person to be president. … Continue Reading

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Witness: “I received a Call from Blé Goudé Asking Me to Support Laurent Gbagbo”

Evariste Yaké, a former Laurent Gbagbo supporter who later became a prominent member of Alassane Ouattara’s party was the 37th prosecution witness in the Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial. His first day of testimony revolved around his relationship with the former leader of the Young Patriots.

It was a witness with a political profile, who began to testify Tuesday morning at the International Criminal Court. His background, implications, entourage, and relations with Charles Blé Goudé were reviewed by prosecution lawyer Lucio Garcia.

Evariste Yaké, a native of the Man region in western Côte d’Ivoire, is now a member of RDR (Rassemblement des Républicains) Secretary General, Amadou Soumahoro’s Office. “I am in charge of welcoming new recruits to the party,” he said. … Continue Reading

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Guiai Bi Poin Testifies: “The Chief of Staff Aligned Himself with the Positions of his Generals”

A prosecution witness in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial, former Command Center for Security Operations (CECOS) commander, Georges Guiai Bi Poin, completed his testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, April 3.

The cross-examination conducted by the lawyer of Charles Blé Goudé, Laurent Gbagbo’s former minister of youth, lasted less than an hour Monday morning. Jean-Serge Gbougnon first wanted to know if the CECOS men – involved, according to Prosecution charges, in the crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire – were dressed in identifiable battle fatigues. “No, the CECOS staff did not have any special attire, everyone came in the uniform of his unit of origin,” said Guiai Bi Poin.

“Charles Blé-Goudé never attended … Continue Reading

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The Former CECOS Head: “To Us, Insufficient Manpower was Still Better Than Numerous Agents Who Defiled Our Reputation”

Today was the fifth day of testimony at the International Criminal Court for the former Head of the Security Operations Command Center (CECOS), General Guiai Bi Poin, who joined the Ivorian Gendarmerie in 1978. Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo’s defense continued their cross-examination.

Early in the day, Laurent Gbagbo’s lead defense lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, returned to March 31, 2011, when Guiai Bi Poin, former CECOS and Gendarmerie School Commander in Abidjan, left the school because it “could be attacked at any time by those whom we faced” and its life “was in danger.”

“You mean FDS [Defense and Security Forces] officials were targets for their opponents?” the lawyer inquired.

Not responding directly, the witness reported that Philippe Mangou’s home in Yopougon was “ransacked” and … Continue Reading

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Mr. Altit: “You Say That You Saw Columns of Ex-Rebels Equipped with Heavy Weapons in Abidjan”

Since Monday, Georges Guiai Bi Poin has been testifying in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial, the former Ivorian president and his minister accused of crimes against humanity. The prosecution’s examination closed this morning, and the defense took over.

“Did Laurent Gbagbo give orders for investigations into civilian casualties during the crisis?” This was the last question from prosecution lawyer Melissa Pack Thursday morning addressed to the former Security Operations Command Center (CECOS) head, Georges Guiai Bi Poin.

“No,” he replied. After a little over three days of hearing, the prosecution finished the questions it wanted to ask its witness.

It was then the turn of the defense to intervene. There was a silence, before defense lawyer Emmanuel Altit took the … Continue Reading

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General Guiai Bi Poin: “The Director of Police Had Exclusive Responsibility for operations on 16 December”

The former Security Operations Command Center (CECOS) boss, now a prosecution witness considered central in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial, former Major-General Georges Guiai Bi Poin was questioned at length today about the December 16, 2010 march on the Ivorian Radio and Television (RTI).

After being rushed by Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser, prosecution lawyer Melissa Pack had warned on Tuesday: “Things are progressing slower than expected. I still have three months of crisis to go through.”

While the counter already showed seven hours of interrogation, the Italian judge told her: “I give you until tomorrow to finish.” Juggling with bundles of classified and highlighted documents, Pack, who had promised to do her best, could not complete her interrogation at the scheduled … Continue Reading

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General Guiai Bi Poin: “The Chief of Staff Put in Place a Unified Command”

The second day of testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the former chief of the Security Operations Command Center (CECOS) was a long hearing day in which there was much talk of Commander Séka and meetings between Laurent Gbagbo and his senior officers.

At the opening of the session, prosecution lawyer Melissa Pack returned to a meeting held at the General Staff in February 2011 in the presence of all the high-ranking officials of the Ivorian state, with the exception of the Republican Guard. This was a meeting in which Commander Anselme Séka Yapo (also known as Séka-Séka) gave his vision of the strategy to be carried out against the Invisible Commando. “If officers had information to communicate, these … Continue Reading

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A New Prosecution Witness at the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Trial: General Guai Bi Poin

Suspended since March 16, hearings in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial resumed on Monday, March 27, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Witness P-10, whose identity was expected to be disclosed, turned out to be Georges Guiai Bi Poin. The former Head of the Security Operations Command Center (CECOS) followed the former Director of the Ivorian Gendarmerie in testifying.

Described as a central witness, the Ivorian Georges Guiai Bi Poin, 63, appeared at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. A retired general, he was the only officer in charge of the Security Operations Command Center, known as CECOS, from its creation in 2005 to its disbanding in April 2011 after Alassane Ouattara assumed power. Appointed by Chief … Continue Reading

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