Situation in Côte d’Ivoire: ICC Judges unseal an arrest warrant against Charles Blé Goudé
On 30 September 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed an arrest warrant against Charles Blé Goudé, initially issued on 21 December 2011.
Charles Blé Goudé, national of Côte d’Ivoire, 40 years of age, allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution, and other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the territory of Côte d’Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.
Factual allegations (non-exhaustive list)
Pre-Trial Judges found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that in the aftermath of the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire, pro-Gbagbo forces attacked the civilian population in Abidjan and in the west of the country, from 28 November 2010 onwards, targeting civilians who they believed were supporters of the opposing candidate. Allegedly, the attacks were committed pursuant to an organisational policy and were also widespread and systematic as they were committed over an extended time period, over large geographic areas, and following a similar general pattern. The attacks were allegedly often directed at specific ethnic or religious communities and left a high number of reported victims.
The Chamber also found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a plan existed between Mr Gbagbo and his inner circle and that they were aware that implementing it would lead to the commission of the alleged crimes. Mr Blé Goudé, as a member of Mr Gbagbo’s inner circle, allegedly exercised joint control over the crimes, and made a coordinated and essential contribution to the realisation of the plan. He allegedly had the power to control and give instructions directly to the youth who were systematically recruited, armed, trained and integrated into the chain of command of the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces, which were reinforced by youth militias and mercenaries loyal to Mr Gbagbo.
Background information on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire
The warrant of arrest for Charles Blé Goudé is the third warrant issued in the situation in Côte d’Ivoire. A warrant of arrest has been issued against Laurent Gbagbo on 23 November 2011 and against Simone Gbagbo on 29 February 2012.
Côte d’Ivoire, which was not party to the Rome Statute at the time, had accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC on 18 April 2003; more recently, and on both 14 December 2010 and 3 May 2011, the Presidency of Côte d'Ivoire reconfirmed the country’s acceptance of this jurisdiction. On 15 February 2013, Côte d’Ivoire ratified the Rome Statute.
On 3 October 2011, the Pre-Trial Chamber granted the Prosecutor’s request for authorisation to open investigations on his own initiative into the situation in Côte d’Ivoire with respect to alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, committed since 28 November 2010, as well as with regard to crimes that may be committed in the future in the context of this situation. The judges authorised the Prosecutor to open an investigation with regard to crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces, including murder, rape, enforced disappearance, imprisonment, pillage, torture and intentionally directing attacks against civilians. On 22 February 2012, the Chamber granted authorisation to the Prosecutor to investigate crimes committed between 2002 and 2010.
The International Criminal Court is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
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].