News / Africa

    Ivory Coast to Send Ble Goude to The Hague Court

    FILE - Leader of the Young Patriots militia Charles Ble Goude (C) greets members of the militia and supporters of Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, during a rally in support of the Ivorian armed forces, at Champroux Stadium in Abidjan.
    FILE - Leader of the Young Patriots militia Charles Ble Goude (C) greets members of the militia and supporters of Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, during a rally in support of the Ivorian armed forces, at Champroux Stadium in Abidjan.
    Reuters
    Ivory Coast will send Charles Ble Goude, a close ally of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity, the justice minister said on Thursday.

    The ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, said in October it had issued an arrest warrant for Ble Goude, who headed the Young Patriots street militia during Gbagbo's presidency, for his alleged role in violence after a disputed 2010 general election.

    "The cabinet has agreed to send Ble Goude to the International Criminal Court," minister Gnenema Mamadou Coulibaly told reporters. "We are going to study how to quickly execute this decision."

    In a statement, the ICC said it would work with Ivory Coast's government to arrange Ble Goude's transfer to the court's detention center.

    "The ICC welcomes the decision of the Ivorian authorities, and is ready to move forward with proceedings against him as soon as he is transferred, since an arrest warrant against him has been pending since 2011 for alleged crimes against humanity," the court added.

    Ble Goude had previously asked to be tried by an Ivorian court and not sent to The Hague. Nick Kaufman, Ble Goude's defense lawyer before the ICC, said the Ivorian government's approach to justice was arbitrary and politically motivated.

    "The only rational explanation is that the government continues to be concerned about the popular appeal of Charles Ble Goude and continues to deny his central and essential role in peace and reconciliation in Cote d'Ivoire," he said.

    He added Ble Goude would consider all options, including filing an admissibility challenge.

    Large Following

    Gbagbo, who refused to give up power after losing a presidential runoff in 2010, has been in the ICC's custody since November 2011, accused of responsibility for rapes, murders, persecution and inhuman acts.

    Some African governments say the ICC unfairly targets the continent.

    Despite the marginalization of his Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), 41-year-old Ble Goude, known as "Street General", still commands a large youth following in Ivory Coast.

    Photographs published last week that local papers claim show a gaunt-looking Ble Goude in a spartan prison cell prompted criticism of the government.

    The government said the pictures were fake and issued other photos, including one showing a man they said was Ble Goude sitting serenely in front of a television.

    The FPI declined to give an immediate comment on his transfer.

    Control Risks analyst Christoph Wille said that the decision to transfer Ble Goude could provoke tensions, but the potential for major unrest in French-speaking West Africa's largest economy was highly doubtful.

    He added that the decision to transfer Ble Goude could open the way for further prosecutions.

    "I think there will be a lot of pressure on the ICC to issue arrest warrants for other individuals, including from [President Alassane] Ouattara's camp. Presumably, investigations have already been launched against some of them," he said.

    The ICC also has an arrest warrant out for Gbagbo's wife Simone for charges of crimes against humanity. However Ouattara's government said in September that it planned to try he former first lady, currently under house arrest in Ivory Coast, in a domestic court.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    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

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.