News / Africa

    Ivory Coast Minister: Local Courts Can Try Gbagbo

    Gbagbo and wife Simone sit in a room at Hotel Golf after they were arrested, Abidjan, April 11, 2011.Gbagbo and wife Simone sit in a room at Hotel Golf after they were arrested, Abidjan, April 11, 2011.
    x
    Gbagbo and wife Simone sit in a room at Hotel Golf after they were arrested, Abidjan, April 11, 2011.
    Gbagbo and wife Simone sit in a room at Hotel Golf after they were arrested, Abidjan, April 11, 2011.
    Ivory Coast Justice Minister Gnenema Coulibaly said Monday that the country’s courts are capable of trying former First Lady Simone Gbagbo, who is wanted at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, but said no official decision had been made on where her trial would take place.
     
    Simone Gbagbo is wanted on four counts of crimes against humanity related to Ivory Coast’s 2010-11 post-election violence.
     
    The conflict erupted after her husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, refused to cede office after losing the November 2010 runoff vote to current President Alassane Ouattara. More than 3,000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were displaced, according to United Nations estimates.
     
    Laurent Gbagbo was transferred to The Hague soon after his arrest warrant was unsealed in November 2011, making him the first former head of state to be taken into the court’s custody. But the government has still not issued a formal response to Simone Gbagbo’s arrest warrant, which was unsealed five months ago.
     
    Monday’s press conference was the first for Coulibaly since assuming the role of justice minister last November. He outlined a plan to create “a reformed and modern judiciary” by 2015. The plan includes improvements to detention conditions and some legal reforms.
     
    But Coulibaly also said the judiciary had come a long way since the former president was transferred to the ICC, which is why the government may move to try Simone Gbagbo locally.
     
    "The ICC can pursue suspects if the state does not have the willingness or the capacity to do it themselves, but the functioning of Ivory Coast's judiciary is at a very high level," he said, calling it "more interesting" to hold trial in Ivory Coast because the nation's courts want to show the aptitude of its magistrates.
     
    Coulibaly assured that Gbagbo would benefit from a fair trial and the responded to allegations from a U.N. expert panel that President Ouattara’s military backers are making vast sums of money off of illegal smuggling of cocoa and other resources as well as extortion.
     
    The claims were published in a report last Thursday that singled out former leaders of the New Forces rebel group who helped bring Ouattara to power during the 2010-11 post-election fighting and now occupy top security positions.
     
    The report says these officials are engaged in “warlord-style predatory economic activities, which they have now extended to the entire Ivorian territory.”
     
    Coulibaly said the government would not protect the suspects if the claims against them were proven true.
     
    "They are open to these denunciations, that if the U.N. states there is proof against people implicated in trafficking, they need to receive this proof and undertake investigations," he said, adding that neither the president nor government cannot protect someone who steals, and if it is a military person has stolen, then he will appear before the military tribunal.
     
    The expert panel called on the government to “immediately dismantle” the alleged criminal network.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.