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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.