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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid