Arusha, March 24, 2014 (FH) – Former Ivorian Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé was transferred Saturday to the International Criminal Court, according to an ICC press release.

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His arrest warrant was first kept under seal, but was made public on September 30, 2013. Côte d’Ivoire had asked the ICC to stay the transfer of the suspect, arguing that judicial procedures were being taken against him in the national courts. The request was rejected by the ICC.

At the ICC prison in The Hague, Netherlands, Blé Goudé joins his former boss, ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, who has been in ICC detention since November 29, 2011.

Blé Goudé, 42, was formerly Minister of Youth and head of the “Young Patriots”, a pro-Gbagbo militia. He was arrested on January 17 in Ghana after more than 18 months on the run, and was extradited to Côte d’Ivoire the next day.

This former right-hand man of Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity (murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution, and other inhuman acts).

These crimes were allegedly committed in the context of post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011.

The ICC pre-trial chamber found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that following the presidential elections, pro-Gbagbo forces attacked the civilian population in Abidjan and the west of the country, from November 28, 2010 onwards. According to the chamber, they targeted civilians that they believed to be supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, who is now president of Côte d’Ivoire.

As a member of Gbagbo’s inner circle, Blé Goudé allegedly exercised joint control over the crimes, and made a coordinated and essential contribution to the realization of the plan. He allegedly had the power to control and give instructions directly to the youth who were systematically recruited, armed, trained and integrated into the chain of command of the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces to commit these crimes.

The ICC is also seeking the transfer of Simone Gbagbo, wife of the former president.