News / Africa

Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Faces International Criminal Court

Exterior view of the prison in Scheveningen in the Netherlands, November 30, 2011
Exterior view of the prison in Scheveningen in the Netherlands, November 30, 2011

Human rights activists are urging the International Criminal Court to quickly arrest other people implicated in post-election violence in Ivory Coast, following the transfer of former president Laurent Gbagbo to the Hague-based tribunal. Mr. Gbagbo is expected to appear before the court on Monday according to his  lawyer.

A motorcade of two cars believed to be carrying Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo enters the prison in Scheveningen, November 30, 2011
A motorcade of two cars believed to be carrying Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo enters the prison in Scheveningen, November 30, 2011

The transfer of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court has been cheered by his foes and by activists like Geraldine Mattioli, international justice specialist at Human Rights Watch.

"This transfer really shows that no one is above the law, and that you can be a head of state [but] you still have to respect the human rights of your populations and you cannot engage in the type of widespread violence we've seen in Cote d'Ivoire - justice will catch up with you," said Mattioli.

Mr. Gbagbo arrived in The Hague early Wednesday after spending seven months under house arrest in the northern Ivorian city of Korogho.

ICC Charges Against Laurent Gbagbo

Former president is charged with four counts of crimes against humanity, here are the details:

  • Murder
  • Rape, sexual violence
  • Persecution
  • Inhuman acts - December 16, 2010 - April 12, 2011
  • Systematic attacks part of organizational policy
  • Carried out plan knowing it would lead to commission of alleged crimes

In a statement, the ICC says he allegedly bears responsibility for four counts of crimes against humanity: murder, sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts that took place after Ivory Coast's disputed elections last year. Prosecutors believe about 3,000 people died in the post-election violence.

The court is also considering a request to investigate other crimes Mr. Gbagbo may have committed between 2002, when the Ivorian civil war broke out,  and 2010.

"Those crimes have been documented by NGOs but also by the U.N. human rights inquiry that had been conducted in Cote d'Ivoire," Geraldine Mattioli of Human Rights Watch said."Crimes against humanity for sure - we've seen attacks against civilians that were systematic and widespread and lasted for months and had a very large geographical span."

Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Faces International Criminal Court
Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Faces International Criminal Court

But a Paris-based lawyer for Gbagbo, Emmanuel Altit, claims the very basis for Mr. Gbagbo's detention - first in Ivory Coast and now in the Hague - is illegal. Altit dismisses the procedure as a farce and claims Mr. Gbagbo's defense was kept in the dark about his transfer to The Hague until the very last minute. He says Mr. Gbagbo considers the charges against him unjust.

In an interview with Reuters, former Gbagbo councilor Toussaint Allain said former colonial power France played an active role in Mr. Gbagbo's transfer to the tribunal for its own political ends.

Mr. Gbagbo joins another former African leader - Liberia's Charles Taylor - in the Hague. Mr. Taylor is awaiting a verdict from another tribunal on war crimes charges. The ICC has also issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Other arrest warrants are also expected in connection with post-election violence in Ivory Coast.  Human Rights Watch's Mattioli says it's important they also include suspects in the camp of current Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.

"We believe this is extremely important for Cote d'Ivoire that we do not move towards victor's justice but really look at the crimes committed by both sides," Mattioli said.

Lawyer Altit says he will be representing Mr. Gbagbo when he makes an appearance before the criminal court, which he says will take place on Monday.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs