Ivory Coast: The trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé to open on 28 January 2016

3 November 2015 – Last week, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) rescheduled the trial’s opening statements in the case The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé , initially scheduled on 10 November 2015, to 28 January 2016.

On 27 October 2015, the Defence team for Mr Gbagbo submitted a request asking the Judges to order the attendance of the three experts appointed by the Chamber to provide their respective reports on Mr Gbagbo’s current heath condition, in order to provide the parties an opportunity to question the experts. The Chamber recalled that the purpose of ordering the medical examination was to facilitate the adjudication of any issues as to Mr Gbagbo’s fitness to stand trial, as well as any practical modalities needed to facilitate his attendance at trial.

After examining the Defence’s request and the Prosecution’s observations, the Chamber decided to grant the Defence’s request and scheduled a hearing on 10 to 12 November. In light of this, and considering the Chamber’s obligation to carefully evaluate and consider the reports submitted by the appointed experts, as well as the parties’ observations in this regard, the Chamber re-scheduled opening statements to start on 28 January 2016.

The trial was initially scheduled to commence on 10 November 2015 and the Office of the Prosecutor was to start its presentation of evidence in January 2016. The Chamber considered, in its decision today, that the new schedule is without prejudice to Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé as the Prosecution shall commence with the presentation of its evidence directly after the opening statements in January 2016.

Decision granting the request of the Gbagbo Defence and re-scheduling opening statements

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.

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Source: ICC