Situation: Côte d’Ivoire
Case: The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo
Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC), by majority, Judge Fernández de Gurmendi dissenting, adjourned the hearing on the confirmation of charges and requested the Prosecutor to consider providing further evidence or conducting further investigation with respect to the charges presented against Laurent Gbagbo in accordance with article 61(7)(c)(i) of the Statute. The Chamber considered that the Prosecutor’s evidence, viewed as a whole, although apparently insufficient, did not appear to be so lacking in relevance and probative value that it left the Chamber with no choice but to decline to confirm the charges.
Besides explaining its approach to evidence, the Chamber also proposed six issues on which the Prosecutor may consider providing further information or conducting further investigation, such as, inter alia, the activities of all armed groups opposed to the “pro-Gbagbo forces” in and around Abidjan between November 2010 and May 2011, the organizational structure of the “pro-Gbagbo forces” and their evolution during the relevant time period, and the alleged cases of sexual violence.
In deciding whether or not to adjourn the hearing, the Chamber considered the effect of this decision on the right of Laurent Gbagbo “to be tried without undue delay”. The Chamber was of the view that, taking into account the particularities of this case and the procedure provided for in the Statute, allowing the Prosecutor to provide more evidence or conduct further investigation for a limited period of time would not unduly infringe this right.
Finally, the Chamber adopted a new calendar for the ensuing conduct of proceedings, including the disclosure of evidence and submissions of the Prosecutor, Defence and victims participating in this case. The Prosecutor is to disclose all further evidence she wants to use for the purposes of the confirmation of charges and to present a new document containing the charges by no later than 15 November 2013. The Defence has the right to submit its observations on the Prosecutor’s evidence and to present additional evidence by no later than 16 December 2013. Subsequently, the participants have the opportunity to file final written submissions.
Judge Fernández de Gurmendi dissented from the decision adjourning the confirmation of charges hearing. Judge Fernández de Gurmendi considers that the adjournement as fourmulated presupposes an interpretation of the role of the pre-trial chamber, the applicable evidentiary standard required for the confirmation of charges and of the the procedural and substantive applicable law that she does not share Accordingly, she does not agree either with the specific terms of the request to the Prosecutor.
Decision adjourning the hearing on the confirmation of charges pursuant to article 61(7)(c)(i) of the Rome Statute
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