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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid