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Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé

Laurent Gbagbo (L) and Charles Blé Goudé SERCOM/APR NEW
Former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo and youth leader Charles Blé Goudé are charged with crimes against humanity in the wake of 2010 presidential election. Their joint ICC trial opened in January 2016.
Case status: 
Trial
Regions: 
Africa
The ICC prosecutor alleges that former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo and his inner circle, including youth leader Charles Blé Goudé, created and executed a common plan to hold on to power after losing the country's 2010 presidential election by encouraging attacks on supporters of rival Allasane Ouattara . Simone Gbagbo, Côte d’Ivoire’s former first lady, is also implicated in the alleged criminal scheme. As founder and chair of the Panafrican Congress of the Young Patriots (COJEP) youth movement, Blé Goudé was a minister for youth in the Gbagbo government. Blé Goudé allegedly converted the COJEP into a pro-Gbagbo militia group. Gbagbo was arrested and transferred to the ICC in 2011. Blé Goudé was arrested and surrendered to the ICC in 2014. Their joint trial opened on 28 January 2016
Background: 

Former president Laurent Gbagbo and youth leader Charles Blé Goudé accused of orchestrating 2010-11 post-election violence. 

Violence erupted in and around Abidjan in the five months following Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010 disputed presidential election. Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo challenged the outcome in favor of his rival Allasane Ouattara and refused to cede power. A Constitutional Council decision declaring Ouattara the victor sparked political and ethnic violence in and around the capital Abidjan. Ensuing violence resulting in at least 3,000 dead, several thousand injured, missing and raped, and over 100,000 displaced. The violence marked a resumption of the country's 2002-07 civil war, widely characterized by ethnic tensions between rebels in the north of the country and the government-held south, including the capital Abidjan. The conflict was ended through the intervention of international military forces, led by France, with Ouattara assuming the presidency. 

Charges: 

Gbagbo and Blé Goudé are charged with four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and other inhumane acts or—in the alternative—attempted murder and persecution. The crimes in question are alleged to have been committed in Côte d’Ivoire’s capital Abidjan during a pro-Ouattara march, at a women’s demonstration and in a densely populated area in the city from December 2010 to April 2011. 

Gbagbo is accused of committing these crimes jointly with members of his inner circle and through members of pro-Gbagbo forces or—in the alternative—of ordering soliciting and inducing the commission of these crimes or—in the alternative—of contributing in any other way to their commission. Blé Goudé is accused of ordering soliciting and inducing the commission of these crimes or—in the alternative—of aiding and abetting in their commission. 

Charges were confirmed against Gbagbo and Blé Goudé in June 2014 and December 2014, respectively. In March 2015, ICC judges decided to join the cases—although the two defendants’ alleged roles in the conception and implementation of the common criminal plan differ, the events and evidence in question overlap. The trial was initially scheduled to open in November 2015, but was postponed to January 2016 based on a Court-ordered assessment of Gbagbo’s fitness to stand trial.

Challenges: 

Appeal Chamber confirms ICC jurisdiction 

On 12 December 2012, the ICC Appeals Chamber confirmed the Court’s jurisdiction over violent events that followed the country’s disputed 2010 elections In doing do, the Chamber unanimously dismissed Mr. Gbagbo’s appeal against a PTC I decision of 15 August 2012, which had originally rejected Mr. Gbagbo's challenge of the Court's jurisdiction. Mr. Gbagbo had appealed on the basis that the ICC’s jurisdiction, which is based on a 2003 declaration by Côte d’Ivoire, pertained only to events in 2002 and 2003, and not to those allegedly committed by Mr. Gbagbo in 2010 and 2011.

Victims: 

The views and concerns of 726 victims who applied to participate in the proceedings are to be presented throughout the trial.