Cote d’Ivoire


    Week in Review: The thorny issue of reparations
    30.07.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    There is no justice without reparations. That is all the more true when it comes to international crimes. But the mechanisms of reparation are still problematic, whether at the International Criminal Court (ICC) or in national transitional justice systems like in Côte d’Ivoire. More than three years ago, the ICC sentenced former Congolese militiaman Germain Katanga to 12 years in jail for complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes linked to the February 24, 2003 massacre in the village of Bogoro, in Ituri. On March 24, 2017, the judges evaluated at 3.75 million dollars (3.2M...

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    Week in Review: International Justice becomes reality, despite the challenges
    23.07.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    The week just ended began with an anniversary: International Justice Day. Despite criticism  -- both founded and unfounded – and numerous challenges still to be met, international criminal justice will go down in the history of Humanity as one of the most notable revolutions of the last century. This week’s hearings, decisions and legal challenges are testimony to this. For example, former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo appeared Wednesday before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hear a decision on his request for conditional release from prison. The ICC Appeals Chamber judges...

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    ICC judges ordered to review freeing I.Coast ex-leader Gbagbo
    19.07.17
    AFP

    Judges must review whether to release the ageing former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo for the rest of his crimes against humanity trial, an appeals court ruled Wednesday. Gbagbo, the first ex-head of state to be tried by the International Criminal Court, won his appeal against a March decision which ordered him to be held in a UN detention centre until the end of the legal process. Five appeals court judges found the trial judges had "erred" on several points by refusing the 72-year-old an interim release, including failing to consider his age and state of health. The trial chamber...

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    Week in Review: Simone Gbagbo, Myanmar, universal jurisdiction and satellites
    03.04.17
    François Sergent (JusticeInfo.net)

    An Abidjan court’s March 28 acquittal of former Ivorian First Lady Simone Gbagbo, charged with “crimes against humanity”, was the big surprise of this week in transitional justice. Was it a judicial or a political decision? Human rights defenders and associations representing victims of the fierce repression that followed the 2010 presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire have criticized this decision. The Prosecutor had called for life imprisonment “in the name of national reconciliation”. Simone Gbagbo herself, who is already serving a 20-year sentence for “undermining State security”,...

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    Côte d’Ivoire: Simone Gbagbo Acquitted After Flawed War Crimes Trial
    29.03.17
    Human Rights Watch

    First Lady’s Acquittal Highlights ICC Process As Critical Path for Victims. (Nairobi) – The acquittal in Côte d’Ivoire of former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo for crimes against humanity based on a process marred by fair trial concerns and a critical lack of evidence shows the importance of the International Criminal Court’s case against her, Human Rights Watch said today. Gbagbo was on trial for serious human rights violations during the bloody post-election crisis, which stemmed from Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power to President Alassane Ouattara following the November 2010...

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    I.Coast ex-first lady Simone Gbagbo acquitted of crimes against humanity
    28.03.17
    AFP

    An Ivory Coast jury on Tuesday acquitted former first lady Simone Gbagbo of crimes against humanity during the 2010-11 post-election crisis in a stunning verdict after the prosecution had sought to jail her for life. "A majority of the jury declared Simone Gbagbo not guilty of the crimes of which she has been accused, pronounced her acquittal and ordered that she be immediately freed if she is not being held for other reasons," said the head of the country's top criminal court, judge Kouadjo Boiqui. Once dubbed Ivory Coast's "Iron Lady," Gbagbo, who was not in court Tuesday, is already...

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    The rise and fall of Ivorian ex-First Lady Simone Gbagbo
    09.03.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    For many of her admirers, Simone Gbagbo, whose trial resumed in her absence Tuesday before an Abidjan court, remains the “Iron Lady”, even behind bars. But for her detractors, she is the “Bloodstained Lady”. Côte d’Ivoire’s former First Lady was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years in jail for endangering State security and is now on trial again for crimes against humanity. The wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo is undoubtedly one of the leading female figures of contemporary Ivorian history. Although visibly marked by jail, this fervent Evangelist, 67, refuses to give in. Like her husband,...

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    I.Coast constitutional referendum passes, opponents cry foul
    02.11.16
    AFP

    An opposition-boycotted referendum to change Ivory Coast's constitution has easily passed, electoral officials said Tuesday, but opponents swiftly dismissed the vote as fraudulent. President Alassane Ouattara said the changes were necessary to help end years of instability linked to disputes over national identity while critics labelled the vote an attempt to line up a successor for when his term ends in 2020. The "Yes" camp won 93 percent of votes cast in Sunday's constitutional referendum, but most eligible voters stayed at home, following the opposition call to boycott, with the official turnout rate put at just over 42 percent. An opposition leader quickly dismissed the official...

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    Ivory Coast to vote on divisive constitution
    28.10.16
    AFP

    Ivory Coast heads to the polls Sunday for a referendum on a new constitution their president insists will heal a nation beset by violent turmoil, but which the opposition says is dangerously anti-democratic. Given that President Alassane Ouattara's political foes have called for a boycott, the draft basic law is almost certain to garner a majority "yes" vote. What is less likely is massive voter turnout: while Ivory Coast's political class has been heatedly debating the draft, ordinary citizens have shown considerably less enthusiasm, either for or against it. Ouattara is the driving...

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    Côte d’Ivoire: Simone Gbagbo Trial Begins

    Needs to be Fair, Followed by Trials of Pro-Ouattara Commanders The upcoming trial in Côte d’Ivoire of the former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo for crimes against humanity could be a pivotal moment for justice. However, for the trial to be meaningful to victims, it must be credible, fair, and followed by other trials that target high-level rights abusers from both sides of the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. Human rights groups acting on behalf of victims have refused to participate in Simone Gbagbo’s trial, scheduled to begin on May 31, 2016. They have cited an incomplete investigation...

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    Week in Review: Ivorian ex-Presidential Couple on Trial
    24.04.16
    Franck Petit, JusticeInfo

    The highlight of the week in transitional justice was the confirmation that former Ivorian First Lady Simone Gbagbo is to stand trial from April 21 for “crimes against humanity” committed in the post-election violence of 2010-2011. As the trial of her husband Laurent Gbagbo continues before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Côte d’Ivoire has affirmed its sovereignty by trying in its own courts a woman wanted by the ICC. But in so doing, it has a twofold responsibility: to conduct a fair trial, and also to tackle criticisms that it is applying “victor’s justice” for crimes...

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    Ivorian Ex-First Lady to be Tried for Crimes against Humanity
    22.04.16
    Wilane Paté, Abidjan correspondent

    Côte d’Ivoire’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the last appeal of former First Lady Simone Gbagbo, opening the way for her to be tried for crimes against humanity. The trial is expected to start in Abidjan in May. Simone Gbagbo, now 66, was already tried and sentenced in March 2015 to 20 years in jail for “undermining state security, participating in an insurrectional movement and disturbing public order” during the post-election crisis in 2010-2011. She was then referred to the Court of Assizes on January 27 this year to face another trial for “crimes against humanity”.   Her first...

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    Ivory Coast former first lady loses final appeal against trial
    21.04.16
    AFP

    Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo is set to go on trial on charges of crimes against humanity after the country's supreme court on Thursday rejected the latest appeal by her lawyers. "The court... has decided to reject the withdrawal called for by Madame Simone Gbagbo against the decision of March 17, 2016," the judge said at the public hearing. Gbagbo's lawyer, Rodrigue Dadje, said he was "terribly disappointed... The supreme court has delivered a political decision. "The consequence is that Madame Gbagbo will go on trial for crimes of violence probably in early May". Nicknamed the "Iron Lady", the 66-year-old had already been sentenced to 20 years in jail last year for...

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    Côte d’Ivoire’s Prisoners of the New Regime
    13.04.16
    Wilane Paté, Abidjan correspondent

    People arrested in Côte d’Ivoire after the fall of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo come from all walks of life, including former top civilian and military leaders, journalists, students and crop growers. How many are they? The government and opposition diverge widely on the numbers, and more arrests were made in the run-up to last year’s presidential elections. “The officers are there, if I fall then so will they,” Gbagbo said as he addressed soldiers on August 7, 2010, the 50th anniversary of independence. But military leaders are not the only ones behind bars after Gbagbo’s fall in April...

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    5 Years On, Awaiting Justice in Côte d'Ivoire : HRW

    Côte d’Ivoire has not yet delivered justice for victims of grave crimes by both sides in the country’s 2010-2011 post-election crisis, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. President Alassane Ouattara and his new justice minister, Sansan Kambile, should strengthen the country’s justice system so it can deliver long overdue justice. The 56-page report, “Justice Reestablishes Balance: Delivering Credible Accountability for Serious Abuses in Côte d’Ivoire,” outlines critical areas requiring additional government support so that Ivorian courts can provide credible justice. It is...

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    Gbagbo Trial Stokes Divisions in Côte d’Ivoire
    23.02.16
    Wilane Paté, correspondent in Abidjan

    In Côte d’Ivoire, people have very different views about the trial of their ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and his former minister Charles Blé Goudé, which started on January 28 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands. The two are accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in violence that followed elections in late 2010 and which left more than 3,000 people dead. This historic trial divides not only the political class but also civil society activists, notably in the economic capital Abidjan.   Five years after the events, the moral and psychological...

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    Disbelief and division at the ICC: inside the Laurent Gbagbo trial

    Lesson learned: always check the microphones. Just after the start of the Hague trial of former Côte d'Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo, prosecutor Eric MacDonald accidentally revealed the names of four anonymous prosecution witnesses within reach of a live microphone. The names were heard in the courtroom and the public gallery, and the recordings have been shared on social media. The clearly disconcerted presiding judge, Cuno Tarfusser, wondered whether this incident “of utmost and inexcusable gravity” was due to “recklessness, superficiality or stupidity.” He did not wish to “speculate...

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    Week in Review: Witnesses “Outed” at Gabgbo Trial, ICC Under Fresh Attack
    08.02.16
    François Sergent, Justiceinfo.net

    The crimes against humanity trial of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo and his former Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé at the International Criminal Court again dominated transitional justice news this week. Both men rejected the charges against them. Blé Goudé presented himself as a man of peace like Martin Luther King. Several incidents occurred during the hearings, with the names of four protected witnesses being revealed by mistake. This is embarrassing for a Court whose credibility is already fragile. The hearings relaunched a recurrent debate on the fact that the ICC is only...

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    ICC to probe 'outing' of secret witnesses in Gbagbo case
    06.02.16
    AFP

    The International Criminal Court said Saturday it will probe how the names of several confidential witnesses in the trial of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo were accidentally revealed this week. Friday's incident in which a closed session of Gbagbo's crimes against humanity trial was mistakenly broadcast on the court's public channel "will be investigated", the ICC's head of public information Sonia Robla told AFP. A clip of the hearing widely circulated on social media including on YouTube, shows ICC judge Cuno Tarfusser calling for the trial to go into a closed session at the...

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    Ivorian Ex-President’s Lawyers Fight Back
    03.02.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    As part of their defence before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Laurent Gbagbo’s lawyers have chosen to attack. First they attacked Gabgbo’s successor, current Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara, who “wanted to take power by force”. And then France, which they say “had long been secretly preparing” Gbagbo’s ouster. Gbagbo’s co-accused Charles Blé Goudé chose  to attack the portrait of him presented by the Prosecutor.   Whereas the prosecution portrays Blé Goudé as “issuing orders against those perceived as supporters of Alassane Ouattara”, he presents himself as a man of peace....

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