Press Release: 16 January 2019

ICC Trial Chamber I decides to release Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé following acquittal

Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Blé Goudé at the hearing held on 15 January 2019 before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands ©ICC-CPI

Today, 16 January 2019, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court"), by majority, Judge Herrera Carbuccia dissenting, found that there were no exceptional circumstances preventing the release  of  Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Blé Goudé from ICC detention  following their acquittal yesterday.  The ICC Prosecutor may appeal this decision. It would be then for the Appeals Chamber to decide whether or not to maintain Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé in ICC custody.

The Chamber directed the ICC Registrar to obtain the necessary assurances from Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé and their respective lead counsel in ensuring the return of Mr Gbagbo and/or Mr Blé Goudé, if and when their presence at the seat of the Court is requested. The ICC Registrar will make the necessary logistical, organisational and diplomatic arrangements for the release of Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé; the location of their release shall depend on their observations and on the agreement of the concerned State(s).

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Background: On 15 January 2019, Trial Chamber I acquitted Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Blé Goudé from all charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010 and 2011. A fully reasoned decision will be issued in writing in due course. The Prosecutor may appeal the decision after the full decision is filed.

The Prosecutor had brought against Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé charges of crimes against humanity (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution) allegedly committed in the context of post-electoral violence in Côte d'Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. 

Since the beginning of the trial on 28 January 2016, 231 hearing days were dedicated to the presentation of the Prosecutor's evidence and 82 witnesses testified in court and through video link; thousands of documents were submitted into evidence, hundreds of motions, requests and decisions were filed. On 4 June 2018, the Chamber declared that that the presentation of the evidence of the Prosecutor was closed.

On 23 July 2018, Laurent Gbagbo's Defense filed its "Requête de la Défense de Laurent Gbagbo afin qu'un jugement d'acquittement portant sur toutes les charges soit prononcé en faveur de Laurent Gbagbo et que sa mise en liberté immédiate soit ordonnée" (Defence Motion for acquittal and  immediate release). On 3 August 2018, the Defence of Charles Blé Goudé filed a No Case to Answer Motion. Hearings were held by the Chamber in October and November 2018 during which the Prosecution, the Legal Representatives of Victims and the two Defence teams presented their arguments regarding this Motion.

Further information on this case is available here.

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: [email protected]

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