Laurent Gbagbo’s trial: introduction

Laurent Gbagbo Koudou, 66, of Ivorian nationality, arrived on November 30th at the detention center of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Netherlands. He was surrendered to the ICC on November 29th 2011, by the authorities of Côte d’Ivoire.

The initial appearance of the suspect before the Trial Chamber III composed of Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (Presiding Judge), Elizabeth Odio Benito and Adrian Fulford, will be held on Monday December 5th.

Laurent Gbagbo would have engaged his individual criminal responsibility, as an indirect actor, in four counts of crimes against humanity for murder, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts allegedly committed in the context of post-election violence that occurred in the territory of Côte d’Ivoire from December 16th 2010 to April 12th 2011.

Allegations:

Trial Chamber III concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that after the presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire, the pro-Gbagbo forces attacked civilians in Abidjan and the west, from of 28 November 2010, targeting civilians they believed to be supporters of opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara. It is alleged that these widespread and systematic attacks were committed over a long period and in a wide geographical area, and followed a precise process. In addition, they have often been directed against specific ethnic or religious communities and have made a large number of victims.

The Chamber also concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Laurent Gbagbo and his immediate entourage had agreed to a plan and they were aware that the implementation of it would result in the commission of the alleged crimes. They would have exercised joint control over the crimes and contributed to implementing the plan.

Laurent Gbagbo had assumed responsibility as “indirect co-perpetrator” (as defined in Article 25-3 of the Statute-a) for the above charges of crimes against humanity. However, the Chamber noted that this issue should be discussed in due course with the parties and participants.

General information on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire:

The arrest warrant against Laurent Gbagbo Koudou is the first warrant issued in connection with the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.

Côte d’Ivoire is not a member to the Rome Treaty but had accepted the jurisdiction of the Court on April 18th 2003. More recently, on December 14th 2010 and May 3rd 2011, the President of Côte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara has again confirmed that the country accepted the jurisdiction of the Court.

On October 3rd 2011, Trial Chamber III granted the Prosecutor to investigate on its own initiative on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire since November 28th 2010, and on crimes that may have been committed later as part of this. The judges allowed the Prosecutor to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces, including murder, rape, forced disappearances, cases of imprisonment, looting and torture and intentionally directing attacks against civilians.

More information on http://www.icc-cpi.int

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