Today, 11 March 2015, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) granted the Prosecutor's request to join the cases concerning Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, in order to ensure the efficacy and expeditiousness of the proceedings. The Chamber vacated the commencement date for the trial in the Gbagbo case, originally set for 7 July 2015, and scheduled a status conference for 21 April 2015 at 09:30 in order to examine procedural issues related to the trial.
The Chamber noted 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. The Chamber also noted that, although their alleged participation in and/or contribution to the conception and implementation of the common plan or purpose is not the same, the conduct of Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé, as alleged in the Confirmation Decisions, is nevertheless closely linked. The Chamber also explained that as, according to the Prosecution, largely the same evidence has been and will be disclosed and presented in both cases.
After considering the submissions and observations of the Prosecution, the Defence teams of both accused and the Legal Representatives of the victims, the Chamber concluded that a joint trial is appropriate to ensure a fair and expeditious trial. The Chamber concluded that the joinder of the cases would serve the interest of justice by avoiding the duplication of a significant body of evidence that shall be presented to the Chamber, and by ensuring consistency in the presentation and assessment of the evidence. The Chamber also noted that the cases' joinder would allow for a better use of the Court's resources and would reduce the exposure of and hardship to witnesses, who otherwise may have to testify twice. Furthermore, the Chamber considered that separate trials are not necessary to ensure that the accused will not suffer any serious prejudice.
In addition, the Chamber designated Judge Geoffrey Henderson as Presiding Judge and as Single Judge for the purposes of trial preparation in the joint case.
Background: Laurent Gbagbo, former President of Côte d'Ivoire, was surrendered to the ICC on 30 November 2011 and he first appeared before the Pre-Trial Chamber on 5 December 2011. On 12 June 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed, by majority, four charges of crimes against humanity (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution) against Laurent Gbagbo and committed him for trial before a Trial Chamber.
Charles Blé Goudé, born on 1 January 1972 in Niagbrahio, Côte d'Ivoire, was surrendered on 22 March 2014 to the ICC by the national authorities of Côte d´Ivoire following a warrant of arrest issued by the ICC on 21 December 2011. On 11 December 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed four charges of crimes against humanity (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution) against Charles Blé Goudé and committed him to trial before a Trial Chamber.
The crimes were allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire, between 16 December 2010 and on or around 12 April 2011.
Decision on Prosecution requests to join the cases of The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and The Prosecutor v. Charles Blé Goudé and related matters
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