International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

‘The Minister’s code was Atlas’

Former Ivorian police chief Brédou M’Bia, who is present in The Hague to testify in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial, continued giving evidence on Thursday, February 16.

Brédou M’Bia’s testimony, which started on Wednesday with a 24 hours’ delay following debates related to his protection, resumed on February 16 at the International Criminal Court (ICC). A technical problem first interrupted the barely open audience and irritated Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser, “My dream of a trouble-free day will not come true today.”

Eric MacDonald, lead prosecutor in the case, then resumed his interrogation with the exploration of the communication systems used within the state forces and, more specifically, within the police.

The complex network of police communications

MacDonald sought to explain the … Continue Reading

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No Protective Measures for Witness P-46 at the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Trial

Called to the witness stand of the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial on Tuesday, February 14, Witness P-46 did not testify. The debate between the various parties concerning the modalities of the witness’s protection could not be settled and his appearance was postponed.

The witness who was due to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, February 14, seemed to be an important witness. With “391 pages” of testimony and 12 hours of hearing scheduled, the file looked voluminous and dense. On Monday, Emmanuel Altit, Laurent Gbagbo’s lawyer, had also asked for a further delay to study this file, with the possibility that the start of the interrogation could be postponed to Wednesday, to which the Chamber … Continue Reading

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The Police Chief Who Knew Very Little

The questioning of Witness P-560, currently working at the Ivorian police headquarters, continued on Monday, February 13, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The prosecution and the defense conducted their interrogation quicker than expected, and his testimony was completed by midday.

Adamo Bonaventure Guillaume Séverin, a witness currently serving in the Directorate-General of the Ivorian Police, received a special protection measure during his testimony. He was accompanied by a lawyer to avoid self-incrimination. After the prosecution’s interrogation by prosecution lawyer Lucio Garcia last Friday, he was questioned on Monday by the defense of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé.

From September 17, 2010 to March 9, 2011, Witness P-560, the head of the Adjamé district in the north of Abidjan, worked in … Continue Reading

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A Police Officer in the Gbagbo Trial

Working in the General Directorate of the National Police in Abidjan, Adamo Bonaventure Guillaume Séverin is the 32nd witness to be heard in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé. The witness was the head of the Adjamé district during the post-electoral violence.

“You can go home, Sir,” Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser told Witness P-45, a former radio operator in the army, on Thursday, closing two days of hearing, charged with electricity and interspersed with private sessions.

The hearing of this Friday, February 10, opened with Witness P-560, who also came to testify without a pseudonym. The day was not without tension, with several altercations between the parties about interrogation methods. The witness had to go out several times to … Continue Reading

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Witness: ‘My Words Are Not the Gospel Truth’

The hearing on Thursday saw the conclusion of Sinaly Dosso’s questioning. In October 2011, the former army transmission operator handed notes from his private wiretaps to International Criminal Court (ICC) investigators. During an electric hearing day, the witness’s approach proved less innocuous than it seemed.

The interrogation of Witness P-45 resumed on Thursday, February 9, at the ICC in The Hague, with Sinaly Dosso, 68, a former senior radio operator in the army. First, Laurent Gbagbo’s defense continued the interrogation opened yesterday, followed by questioning from Charles Blé Goudé’s defense.

The hearing focused on the nature of the notes given by the witness to investigators from the prosecution in Abidjan, the material used during the eavesdropping from his home during the 2010-2011 … Continue Reading

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A Retired Soldier, a Transistor, and Wiretapping During the Crisis

A new witness appeared this morning in the Laurent Gbagbo and  Charles Blé Goudé trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC). This former staff sergeant, who served in the army’s communications section, explained how he had monitored the police, gendarmerie, and Republican Guard networks.

The 31st witness in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial appeared at the ICC this morning. Like the previous one, Witness P-45 testified openly. A retired soldier, Sinaly Dosso lives in Abidjan. He was born in 1949 in Côte d’Ivoire, the former staff sergeant joined the army in 1968 and worked in the communications section while Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the president of the country.

In 1971, he joined the Ministry of Defense and worked in the international interception … Continue Reading

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The Defense to Witness: “You Have Memory Problems, Sir”

This morning, the courtroom, almost deserted by the audience, is quiet again. Charles Blé-Goudé, who was absent yesterday due to health problems, is back again. The examination of witness Salif Ouedraogo continued and was concluded at the end of the day.

On Tuesday, February 7, in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial, which was conducted with the same strong desire for efficiency shown yesterday by Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser, saw the continuation and end of Witness P-106 examination. Aged 42, and injured when he tried to join the march on RTI, Salif Ouedraogo spoke openly, with his face uncovered. He owned a spare parts business in the Abobo neighborhood in Abidjan at the time of the post-election violence in … Continue Reading

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Vague and Contradictory, the Words of Witness P-106, an Abobo Trader, Cause a Stir in the Audience

After a two-month recess, the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial resumed Monday morning at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Facing a room filled by supporters of the former Ivorian President, witness Salif Ouedraogo was questioned at length by the defense.

The Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial resumed on Monday, February 6, after a two month suspension. The long pause was due to “a budget problem,” Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser clarified. From the outset, he raised the issue of delays in this long-running case, which opened on January 28, 2016. He announced a series of measures to optimize speaking time in the courtroom and make the trial speedier.

Fewer witnesses and absence of Blé Goudé due to health reasons

The number of … Continue Reading

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Last Day of Trial Before Recess

Laurent Gbagbo’s defense asked their last questions to the witness this Friday, December 9, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Although tired from feeling unwell yesterday, Charles Blé Goudé attended the hearing of the day, the last hearing before 2017.

Doucouré Ladji was interrogated by Laurent Gbagbo’s defense this morning and in the presence of Charles Blé Goudé. After feeling unwell yesterday, the accused had to leave the court for the day. Returning this morning, he thanked the chamber, through his lawyer, for “having been given the possibility to retire.”

“Health is essential,” replied Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser, before giving the floor to Gbagbo’s defense.

Thus, the last witness of the year was questioned about the circumstances of his brother’s death on December … Continue Reading

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Witnesses Testify in the Absence of Charles Blé Goudé

Two witnesses testified by videoconference on Thursday, December 8, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The interrogations took place in the absence of Charles Blé Goudé. The former Minister of Youth had to leave the courtroom because he felt unwell.

“The situation is not serious,” said Seri Zokou, one of the accused’s lawyers, late in the morning. Earlier this morning, Charles Blé Goudé had indeed to leave the courtroom because he felt “unwell.” Feeling “dizzy,” he visibly suffered from a cold. “He needs rest and medication,” his lawyer explained, adding that Charles Blé Goudé had given “his consent” that the hearing of the witnesses could go on in his absence.

Thus, the defense was able to ask their last questions to Bakayoko … Continue Reading

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