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8.05.15 - ICC/CÔTE D'IVOIRE – TRIAL OF LAURENT GBAGBO AND HIS EX-MINISTER BLÉ GOUDÉ TO START IN NOVEMBER

Arusha, May 8, 2015 (FH) – The crimes against humanity trial of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo and former Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé is to start on November 10, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced.

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The November 10 hearing will be only to hear the opening statements of the parties and participants, according to a Court statement on Thursday. The prosecution will start presenting its evidence in January 2016, “at a date to be confirmed”.

The Court set the trial opening date in light of “the Prosecutor's undertaking that the disclosure of evidence will be completed no later than end of June 2015, as well as the Defence's submissions regarding the time needed for preparation”, says the ICC press release. The Defence will thus have more than four months to prepare for the start of trial.

Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Côte d'Ivoire, was transferred to the ICC on November 30, 2011 and his initial hearing before the pre-trial court took place on December 5, 2011.

On June 12, 2014, the court confirmed (by a majority) four charges of crimes against humanity against him (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution), and committed him to trial.

Charles Blé Goudé, who was Gbagbo’s Youth Minister, was transferred to the ICC on March 22, 2014. On December 11, 2014, the court confirmed four charges of crimes against humanity against him (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution).

Both men are charged for their alleged role in crimes committed in their country between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011, or thereabouts. On March 11 this year the court granted a prosecution request to join the two cases, saying that “both Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé have had charges confirmed against them which arise from the same allegations, namely crimes allegedly committed during the same four incidents by the same direct perpetrators who targeted the same victims because they were perceived to be supporters of Alassane Ouattara” (current President of Côte d’Ivoire).

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