In mid-January, Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé were acquitted on all charges of crimes against humanity. The crimes were alleged to have been committed in 2010 and 2011 in Côte d’Ivoire. A majority decision by the Trial Chamber concluded that the Prosecutor failed to “demonstrate several core constitutive elements of the crimes as charged, including the existence of a “common plan” to keep Mr Gbagbo in power, which included the commission of crimes against civilians “pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organisational policy”; and the existence of patterns of violence from which it could be inferred that there was a “policy to attack a civilian population”.” As well, the Chamber also concluded that public speeches by the defendants had not been demonstrated to constitute the ordering or inducing of the alleged crimes.
Ggagbo and Blé Goudé remain in ICC custody pending a decision on an appeal filed by the Prosecutor.
Investigations into the situation in Côte d’Ivoire continue.
In a post on his blog Justice in Conflict, Mark Kersten offers his reflections on the decision, as well as a link to an interview he did on Al Jazeera. In summary of why the case collapsed, Kersten says, “a number of theories have been floated: political interference in the trial on behalf of Gbagbo and his supporters, insufficient cooperation from the government of the administration of current President Alassane Ouattara, and poor case construction by the ICC. It’s entirely possible that it is all of the above.”
Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona was arrested in France in December 2018 and transferred to the ICC on January 23, 2019. He is scheduled to appear before the Pre-Trial Chamber on Friday, January 25. A warrant for Ngaïssona’s arrest was issued on December 7, 2018 for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Central African Republic in 2013 and 2014.