International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Fatou Bensouda Has One Month to Justify Charges Against Gbagbo

In a decision published on February 9, 2018, the trial chamber in charge of the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé case invited International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to produce a brief on the link between the testimonies and the charges against the two accused.

Nearly a month after hearing the last witness on her list, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will have to submit a brief to the judges. This was decided by the judges of Trial Chamber I.

In a nine-page order published in English on the court’s website, the judges invited the Gambian prosecutor to establish the link between the testimonies and the charges against Laurent Gbagbo and his former Youth Minister, Charles Blé Goudé.

“[T]he … Continue Reading

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Ambiguity Around the Participation of Gbagbo’s Witnesses

The last prosecution witness in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé completed her testimony on Friday, January 19, 2018. Defense witnesses were expected as soon as the trial resumed, but they may not be heard for several weeks.

A forensic expert, Professor Hélène Yapo Etté, completed her testimony before the International Criminal Court (ICC). As the last witness called by the prosecution, the medical examiner was questioned by the various parties throughout the day’s hearing.

The prosecution has finished calling its witnesses, but nothing is clear about the passage of the witnesses called by the defense. In fact, while they were expected to begin their testimony just after the final prosecution witness, it is not known to date when they … Continue Reading

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Hélène Yapo Etté, Bensouda’s Last Witness in Court

The trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé before the International Criminal Court (ICC) went into recess in December 2017 and resumed on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

After a break of several weeks in their trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé were now back in The Hague courtroom on January 17.

This was also the beginning of the testimony of Professor Hélène Yapo Etté, a forensic physician and the last prosecution witness.

The discussion was highly technical and focused on the work of the forensic expert during the post-election crisis. In her testimony, she said that several families were pressing to recover the bodies submitted for examination by her teams.

“These people arrive, identify themselves by … Continue Reading

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Proceedings Suspended Until 2018

The hearings in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé have been suspended until next January. The proceedings that took place on Thursday, December 7, in The Hague were the last ones for the year 2017.

Charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé will no longer attend the hearing rooms of the international judicial body in 2017.

In fact, the hearing held on Thursday, December 7, was the last of the year 2017. At the end of discussions with Professor Frédéric Blonbled, an expert in forensic science, Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser announced the suspension of the trial.

“So what do I have to do now? Well, adjourn. We shall resume on … Continue Reading

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A Forensic Expert Before ICC Judges

A forensic expert of Belgian origin, Professor Blombé Frédéric testified on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 before the judges in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Forensic medical professor, Blombé Frédéric, a national of Belgium, was called to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday, December 6, in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial.

To the various parties, Professsor Blombé gave details of his action in Côte d’Ivoire where he was sent in September 2013 at the request of the Office of the Prosecutor. At the time, the expert’s task was to examine certain people presented as victims of post-election violence. This was an integral part of the investigations conducted by Fatou Bensouda’s teams.

In Judge … Continue Reading

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Blé Goudé Breaks Down and Bursts into a Flood of Tears in Court

The joint trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé continued on Tuesday, December 5, in The Hague. The audience of the day was marked by a moment of emotion featuring the boss of the former Patriotic Galaxy.

On the second day of testimony by Sira Dramé, a Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) activist and Abobo City Councilor, was marked by a moving scene.

In fact, this Tuesday, December 5, 2017, the prosecution witness was questioned by Charles Blé Goudé’s lawyers on the massacre that occurred during the post-electoral crisis in the village of Anonkoua-Kouté in Abobo Municipality.

Shortly after the Ivorian Television report was broadcast at the request of Séri Zokou, Charles Blé Goudé’s lawyer, Laurent Gbagbo’s last Minister for Youth and co-accused … Continue Reading

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An Abobo Resident in Court: “We Were Bombed Every Day”

The hearing of  December 4 in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was marked by the testimony of Sira Dramé, an Abobo City Councilor during the post-election crisis.

City council member and Political Commissioner of the Rally of Republicans (RDR) in Abobo, Sira Dramé faced the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Monday, December 4, 2017 to testify in the joint trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé.

Born in 1970 in Adjamé and a dyer by profession, Alassane Ouattara’s party activist described in her testimony the atmosphere in Côte d’Ivoire’s most populated commune at the time of the crisis.

According to her, Abobo was a difficult area for RDR supporters. “During … Continue Reading

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A Victim of the Siaka Koné Market Bombing in Front of the Judges

After several closed sessions, the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé was held this Wednesday, November 29, in open court. The court, presided over by Judge Cuno Tarfusser, heard the testimony of Ouattara Fanta about the events in Abobo.

Born in 1973 in Abobo, Ouattara Fanta, witness number 105 was this Wednesday, November 29, before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Faced with the court presided over by the Italian judge Cuno Tarfusser, the shopkeeper explained that she was a victim of the Siaka Koné market bombing which reportedly took place in Abobo on March 17, 2011.

“I’ve been in pain since this injury,” said the witness, who added that to this day she still had “a bullet fragment” in her … Continue Reading

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Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Trial: Another Closed Session in The Hague

Resuming work after a break of ten days, the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was marked by a closed session hearing on Monday, November 27, 2017.

A closed session to finish and a closed session to resume. The trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé reopened this Monday, November 27, in The Hague, the seat of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

As in the previous hearings on November 16th, the proceedings of this Monday were not public. The trial was held in closed session.

It must be remembered that this measure is decided upon by the judges most of the time, at the request of one of the parties to ensure the safety … Continue Reading

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Witness Testifies In Closed Session in The Hague

November 16, 2017 the hearing in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial was held in closed session. Today’s witness spoke in the strict intimacy of Courtroom 1 in The Hague-based court.                   

Testimony in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was heard by Judge Cuno Tarfusser’s court in camera, closed to the public.

Questioned by  Ivoire Justice on this measure, ICC spokesman Fadi El-Abdallah explained via email:

Judges may decide to hold hearings in camera in accordance with two essential principles of the Rome Statute: the right of the accused to have his case heard publicly (Article 67 (1)) and  the Court’s duty to take appropriate … Continue Reading

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