Cote d’Ivoire: Acquittal of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé a crushing disappointment to victims of post-election violence


Following today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to acquit Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director said:

“The acquittal of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé will be seen as a crushing disappointment to victims of post-election violence in Cote d’Ivoire. However, the judges found that the Office of the Prosecutor had not presented evidence needed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The Chamber ordered both accused to be immediately released.

The acquittal of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé will be seen as a crushing disappointment to victims of post-election violence in Cote d’Ivoire.
Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Regional Director

“The Office of the Prosecutor has the possibility to appeal this acquittal and the arrangements for the accused to be released will be addressed during a hearing to be held tomorrow morning at the Court.

“This ICC ruling reminds us that fair trial and due process must be at the heart of international criminal justice.

“Victims of the 2010-2011 violence are yet to see justice and reparations for the harm they suffered.”

Background:

Today, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court acquitted former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, his former youth minister. The Defense Motion for acquittal and immediate release was filed on 23 July 2018 by Laurent Gbagbo's defence. On 3 August 2018, Charles Blé Goudé’s defence filed a No Case to Answer Motion.

Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were accused of four counts of crimes against humanity: murder, rape, other inhumane acts/ attempted murder, and persecution. These crimes were allegedly committed as post-election violence swept through Côte d'Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. Their ICC trial opened on 28 January 2016.

The Chamber concluded by majority that the Prosecutor has failed to demonstrate several core constitutive elements of the crimes as charged, in particular with respect to the causal link between alleged crimes and the accused - including the existence of a policy to commit crimes against civilians, and that public speeches constituted ordering, soliciting or inducing the alleged crimes.