The International Criminal Court (ICC) is holding hearings from Monday to Wednesday to review the request for an appeal hearing by its prosecutor following the acquittal of humanity crimes by former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo.
Following the release of crimes against humanity by former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will hold hearings from Monday, June 22 to review the request for an appeal hearing by his prosecutor.
Fatou Bensouda appealed in September 2019 against the acquittal which was pronounced in January the same year against the former Ivorian president and one of his relatives, Charles Blé Goudé.
The appeal must show that the trial court erred in law and procedure that resulted in acquittal of all charges, the prosecutor said.
Not guilty of crimes against humanity
The two men were found not guilty of humanity crimes committed in 2010 and 2011 during the violence following the Ivory Coast election, which left 3,000 people dead. They were released on terms in February 2019.
The Court Prosecutor, founded in 2002 to try the worst atrocities committed in the world, considers that the judges acquitted them without formulating correctly and without consistently applying a clearly defined standard of evidence.
This week’s hearing will be “partially virtual,” the ICC said, because of the current situation with Covid-19. It is not clear whether the acquaintances will be physically present or whether they will participate in the proceedings through video conferencing. The judges will then decide at a “later stage” whether an appeal should be held.
Prosecutor in concern
The effort is important for FatouBensouda’s office, already weakened by the release of Laurent Gbagbo and former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, acquitted in 2018 for war crimes and crimes against humanity after spending nearly a decade in detention.
In addition, the ICC is currently the target of virulent attacks by US President Donald Trump, who announced financial sanctions on members of the jurisdiction – including Fatou Bensouda – for accusing her of US soldiers of their implications in the conflict in Afghanistan.
Recently, ICC judges rejected a request for unconditional release by 75-year-old Laurent Gbagbo, who spent seven years in custody in The Hague before being acquitted. But the relaxed conditions for his trial.
The former president now has permission to leave Belgium, where he has been under house arrest since his acquittal, provided that each country he wants to go to agrees to receive him in advance. The political party he founded, the Ivorian People’s Front (FPI), called on President Alassane Ouattara for “dialogue” to allow his return to the country.
Quickly, an association of victims of the post-crisis crisis of 2010-2011 expressed its “energetic opposition” to a possible return of the former president to the Ivory Coast.