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Gbagbo case: Appeals Chamber confirms ICC jurisdiction


Today, 12 December 2012, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed unanimously the appeal submitted by the Defence of Mr Laurent Gbagbo and confirmed the decision by Pre-Trial Chamber I on the Defence’s challenge to the jurisdiction of the ICC.

On 15 August 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber I had declined to grant Mr Gbagbo’s request to find that the Court would lack jurisdiction over the post-2010 election period and events on which the warrant of arrest and the charges laid against him are based. The Defence alleged that Côte d’Ivoire, which is not a State Party to the Rome Statute – the Court’s founding treaty, accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction on 18 April 2003 only in relation to the events in 2002 and 2003, and not in relation to future crimes. In the alternative, the Defence asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to stay the proceedings in the case because of alleged violations of Mr Gbagbo’s fundamental rights during the period of his detention in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Judge Anita Ušacka, Presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber on this appeal, delivered today a summary of the judgment in open session. The Appeals Chamber highlighted that under the terms of article 12 (3) of the Rome Statute, a State may accept the jurisdiction of the Court generally. The Appeals Chamber could not find a temporal limitation in the 2003 Declaration, contrary to what the Defence argued. “To the contrary, the last paragraph of the 2003 Declaration suggests that Côte d’Ivoire explicitly accepted the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to crimes committed after the 2003 Declaration​”, stated Judge Ušacka. 

The Presiding Judge also explained that the grounds of appeal related to the Pre-Trial Chamber’s denial of the request to stay the proceedings could not be presented directly before the Appeals Chamber and were dismissed for procedural reasons.

Mr Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as an indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the context of post-electoral violence in the territory of Côte d’Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.

Judgment on the appeal of Mr Laurent Koudou Gbagbo against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I on jurisdiction and stay of the proceedings​​

The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: fadi.el-abdallah@icc-cpi.int​.

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