International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Edouard Kassaraté, a Prosecution Witness Working for the Defense

Thursday was the sixth and final day of testimony for General Edouard Tiapé Kassaraté, second senior officer of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial. The defense closed their interrogation earlier than expected, which may indicate satisfaction with the witness’s answers.

Edouard Tiapé Kassaraté’s testimony at the International Criminal Court, which was to last until Friday evening, ended Thursday afternoon. The six-hour hearing that was scheduled lasted half as long. Laurent Gbagbo’s defense concluded their interrogation faster than expected. Charles Blé-Goudé’s defense said that it had no questions to ask the former commander of the Ivorian Gendarmerie and current ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire in Senegal, who worked with Gbagbo throughout his term as President of … Continue Reading

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Kassaraté: “There Was a French Listening Service at the President’s Residence”

Appearing since March 8 at the International Criminal Court in the case of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, Edouard Kassaraté continued his testimony on Tuesday. The prosecution finished their interrogation and the defense took over.

The hearing closed on Monday in a very tense atmosphere with prosecution questions related to the signature of a document by the witness. Virulently questioning Edouard Kassaraté, prosecution lawyer Eric MacDonald was called to order by Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser. As tension increased in the courtroom, the Presiding Judge cut short the hearing that was coming to an end.

“Let’s hope the climate is more peaceful today,” he said at the opening of the hearing this morning. This was the case, with cordial exchanges between the … Continue Reading

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Kassaraté: “I Wanted to Advise Laurent Gbagbo to Hand Over Power to Alassane Ouattara”

This fourth day of General Kassaraté’s testimony in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé case was dense and electric. During this new dispute between the witness, always with a profound aversion to dates, and the Office of the Prosecutor and Judge Tarfusser, some information finally filtered out, for example dissensions between the Commander of the Gendarmerie and the Chief of Staff Philippe Mangou.

As a prelude to this new day of General Kassaraté’s testimony at the International Criminal Court, Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser addressed the witness looking him straight in the eye. “Often you do not remember, or you learn the information on television. But given the position you held, this is very astonishing.”

He then reminded him that “false testimony or incomplete … Continue Reading

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Judge Tarfusser to General Kassaraté: “I Urge You to Tell the Truth”

The second day of testimony by the former Head of the Ivorian Gendarmerie, Edouard Kassaraté, revealed nothing about the role of Laurent Gbagbo and his Youth Minister. Faced with the prosecution witness’s evasion and voluntary amnesia, Judge Cuno Tarfusser tried to remind him of his duty to tell the truth.

On the morning of Friday, March 10, in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial, the prosecution resumed its interrogation. Prosecution lawyer Alexis Demirdjian came to the heart of the matter, focusing on the situation between the two rounds of the presidential election (October 31 and November 28, 2010) and asking direct questions about concrete facts. However, General Kassaraté was uncooperative, excelling in dodging and evasive responses, making the task … Continue Reading

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A High-Ranking Officer in the Gbagbo Government During the Crisis, Kassaraté Proves Rather Tight-Lipped

After the testimony of the former Director-General of the Ivorian police in February, now it is the former Commander of the National Gendarmerie’s turn to answer prosecution questions in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial. The Ivorian Gendarmerie was under tight scrutiny Thursday.

“He’s a key witness. He knows everything that happened.” In the public gallery overlooking the courtroom, a lady who came to support the man she called “our President,” Laurent Gbagbo, expected much from the testimony of Edouard Tiapé Kassaraté to understand what happened during the post-electorion crisis, and she was not the only one.

Kassaraté, a witness from the inside

As head of the Ivorian Gendarmerie at the time of the events, Kassaraté is a witness from the inside. The … Continue Reading

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Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Trial: Former Ivorian Gendarmerie Commander Before the Court

Suspended on March 6 following the dismissal of counsel for Witnesses P-10 and P-11, the hearing resumed on Wednesday in The Hague. It was a brief session, just enough time to introduce the new prosecution witness who had been expected since Monday and who was none other than Edouard Tapié Kassaraté. This high-ranking officer, a member of Gbagbo’s inner circle who subsequently pledged allegiance to Alassane Ouattara, will testify for several days.

On Monday, March 6, lawyers for Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé-Goudé intervened as soon as the trial resumed, requesting the disqualification of Fabian Raimondo on grounds of conflict of interests. Defense lawyers Geert-Jan Knoops and Emmanual Altit both pointed out that the Argentine lawyer, who was to assist witnesses … Continue Reading

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Counsel for Witness P-11 Disqualified, Hearing Closed

The Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial, which went on recess on February 22 after the testimony of the former director-general of the Ivorian police, resumed today in The Hague. However, the much anticipated Witness P-11 did not start testifying. The defense pointed to a conflict of interest related to the appointment of his counsel, which was revoked following a decision of the trial chamber.

On February 22, Laurent Gbagbo’s lead lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, announced the arrival of “very important witnesses” when the trial resumed on March 6 and referred to voluminous files requiring “complex preparation.” Meanwhile, one of Charles Blé Goudé’s lawyers, Geert-Jan Knoops, confirmed today the importance of these new testimonies by referring to “witnesses relevant to the … Continue Reading

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Testimony of the Former Director-General of the Ivorian Police Ends

After six days of interrogation, the testimony of Brédou M’Bia, the police boss at the time of the post-election crisis, closed two days ahead of what had been announced. The trial will resume on March 6.

Brédou M’Bia’s testimony ended on Wednesday, February 22. Jean-Serges Gbougnon, of the Abidjan Bar and lawyer of Charles Blé Goudé, took the floor.

“I know it’s a bit difficult because usually you are the one who asks questions,” he told the former DGPN at the beginning of the session.

Turning to various statements by the witness and reports attached to the file or evoked during the hearings, the defense sought to show that the identification of certain groups of students, young people, or marchers, whether pro-Gbagbo or … Continue Reading

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Witness Questioned About the Ethnicity of Police Officers

Tuesday’s hearing in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial was reserved for questions by the defense to witness P-46, director-general of the police at the time of the Ivorian crisis.

Brédou M’Bia’s interrogation continued on Tuesday, February 21, in the presence of Laurent Gbagbo and the former Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé. Both are accused of crimes against humanity for the violent aftermath of the November 2010 presidential election. According to the prosecution, they allegedly organized a “common plan” to allow Gbagbo to retain power “by all means.”

“I do not know if there were armed marchers“

On his fifth day of testimony, Emmanuel Altit, Gbagbo’s lead defense lawyer, returned to Alassane Ouattara’s supporters’ December 16, 2010 march on the Ivorian … Continue Reading

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Brédou M’Bia: ‘We Asked the Head of State to Withdraw’

The 34th prosecution witness in the Gbagbo-Blé Goudé trial, former Ivorian police chief Bredou M’Bia, continued his testimony on Monday, February 20, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). He has been in court since February 15 and has already very much informed the chamber.

This was the fourth hearing day for Bredou M’Bia. As with many witnesses, the personality of this former Ivorian police official during the 2010-2011 crisis had been appearing more and more clearly hour after hour and question after question. Sitting calmly at his table, this high-ranking officer, about whom it was now discovered that he had sometimes expressed opinions that diverged from those of his hierarchy, did not seem to have shown blind docility.

Sackings and dismissals

It was … Continue Reading

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