International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Bensouda Ready to Requalify Charges Against Gbagbo According to Mediapart

Several weeks after the suspension of the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is reportedly ready to requalify the charges against the former Ivorian president.

Detained at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for nearly seven years, former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, who is being prosecuted on four counts of crimes against humanity, could see the horizon look brighter.

The generally well-informed French website Mediapart wrote in an article posted online on February 15, 2018 that Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, might support a requalification of charges in this case.

“The trial of the former Ivorian president and his former minister Charles Blé Goudé before the International Criminal Court is entering a decisive … Continue Reading

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To Detain or Not to Detain: A Human Rights Approach to Custody in Criminal Law

Earlier this week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber unanimously reversed a March 10, 2017 decision of Trial Chamber I on the detention of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo. Although Gbagbo will remain in prison at the ICC detention facility, the Appeals Chamber has tasked the trial chamber with conducting a new review to decide if the former head of state’s continued detention is warranted.

Gbagbo, 72, is charged with crimes against humanity following post-election violence in 2010 and 2011, which allegedly led to the killing of around 3,000 people. He has been on trial at the ICC, alongside his former youth minister Charles Blé Goudé, since January 28, 2016.

Previously, Gbagbo’s defense had requested his urgent release in 2014 in … Continue Reading

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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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Understanding the Principle of Complementarity in Côte d’Ivoire

This article was written by Traoré Drissa, a lawyer based in Abidjan and Vice President of the International Federation of the Human Rights League.

Strengthening national judicial systems is key to winning the fight against impunity and preventing the most serious crimes —genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It is for this reason that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was created.

A booklet recently published by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), The Handbook on Complementarity: An Introduction to the Role of National Courts and the ICC in Prosecuting International Crimes, helps professionals and those less experienced in international criminal law to understand the functions of the ICC, in particular its relationship to national courts in the fight against impunity.

The … Continue Reading

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Talking Justice: New Podcast Focuses on Gbagbo Trial

Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Ivory Coast, goes on trial this week before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, charged with four counts of crimes against humanity.

It is the first time the ICC has tried a former head of state.

But is the court promoting “victors’ justice,” by putting the former president on trial, while atrocities committed by his rivals to go unpunished.

Will the trial help or hinder the ICC’s troubled relations with African states?

The first edition of “Talking Justice,” a new monthly series of audio programs from the Open Society Foundations, looks at the issues raised by the court’s response to the a short but brutal conflict in Ivory Coast that erupted after disputed elections in November 2010.

According … Continue Reading

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ICC Credibility and the Case against Laurent Gbagbo

When former Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo stepped into court on Tuesday, February 19, he became the first head of state to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Gbagbo is only one of three former heads of state to become a subject of an ICC arrest warrant and proceedings (see our briefing paper on the background to the case here). The court issued arrest warrants for Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir in 2009, and for Muammar Qaddafi, then president of Libya, in 2011. With Al-Bashir yet to be arrested and Qaddafi killed by a Libyan mob, Gbagbo became the first head of state to be brought into the court’s custody.

The proceedings against Gbagbo come at an important stage in the … Continue Reading

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