Tag Archives: Arrest warrant

ICC Announces Third Arrest Warrant from Ivory Coast

Flag of Ivory Coast

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday the existence of an arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude, a former top aide to former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo. Ble Goude’s warrant had been under seal since 2011.   Ivory Coast is not formally a state party to the ICC, but accepted the court’s jurisdiction in 2011 and asked the ICC to probe the post-election violence.

Gbagbo was the first former head of state to appear and face charges at the ICC.  The pre-trial chamber found insufficient evidence at the confirmation of charges hearing, that determination is being appealed by the Office of the Prosecutor.

Former first lady Simone Gbagbo has also been accused of crimes against humanity, and is in custody in Ivory Coast, which recently declined to send her to The Hague to face charges at the ICC.

Ble Goude fled Ivory Coast after the election defeat, was arrested in Ghana and returned to Ivory Coast in January. The Gbagbos and Ble Goude are accused of Crimes Against Humanity in the post election violence in Ivory Coast.

On 23 November 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber III issued a warrant of arrest for Laurent Gbagbo (“Mr Gbagbo”), having found reasonable grounds to believe that he was criminally responsible as an “indirect co-perpetrator” pursuant to article 25(3)(a) of the Statute for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution, committed in Côte d’Ivoire during the period between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.  P.2 Decision to Adjourn.  Footnotes omitted. 

Bashir Passes on Visit to United Nations

Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir

Omar Al-Bashir

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir this week cancelled his trip to New York for the opening session of the United Nations. Bashir was the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC issued a warrant for Bashir for  war crimes and crimes against humanity in March 2009. The appeals chamber found the pre-trial chamber’s interpretation of the grounds to issue a warrant too narrow and order the chamber to re-consider it’s decision on genocide.  In addition to being the first sitting head of state to be indicted at the ICC, Bashir is the first person to have been charged with genocide at the ICC. There are two warrants for Bashir to appear at the ICC.

Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, and Deputy President of Kenya, William Ruto were charged by the ICC prior to their election to the presidency and deputy presidency.  Bashir is charged for his conduct in office, Kenyatta and Ruto are alleged to have committed crimes against humanity prior to their election.  The charges against Bashir arise from the situation in Darfur.

Kenyatta and Ruto have appeared at the ICC.  Ruto’s trial began this month, Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled to begin later this year. Kenyatta took the unusual step of testifying in his own defense at the confirmation of charges hearing. Bashir has not appeared to face the charges, nor have other members of his government who have been indicted. Major NGOs have often put pressure on other nations to arrest Bashir and send him to the ICC, he has cancelled some trips apparently because of the threat of arrrest.

ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Former First Lady of Ivory Coast

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands,  last week unsealed an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, the former First Lady of the Ivory Coast.   The warrant, issued under seal in February, was unsealed and made public last week.

The warrant says that the prosecutor requested a warrant against:

Simone Gbagbo (“Ms Gbagbo”) for her individual criminal
responsibility as regards the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and
other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts
committed during the post-election crisis from 28 November 2010 onwards
by the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces (“FDS”), which were reinforced
by youth militias and mercenaries loyal to President Gbagbo (“pro-Gbagbo
forces”), in Abidjan, including around the Golf Hotel and elsewhere in the

The court found reasonable cause to issue the warrant for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape, persecution and “other inhumane acts.” The court found Mrs. Gbagbo responsible as “an indirect co-perpetrator.”    Even so, the court found reasonable grounds that she participated by:

i) adopting the common plan; ii) being aware of its implementation and the
means other members of the inner circle had at their disposal to implement
the common plan; iii) meeting with members of Mr Gbagbo’s inner circle to
discuss and coordinate the implementation of the common plan; iv) playing a
key role in recruiting and instructing the galaxie patriotique, and integrating
them into the FDS; and v) being aware of the contribution of other members
of Mr Gbagbo’s inner circle to the implementation of the common plan.
Furthermore, the Chamber is of the view that Ms Gbagbo was fully conscious
of the factual circumstances that enabled her and other members of
Mr Gbagbo’s inner circle to exercise joint control over the crimes.

Mrs. Gabagbo is the first woman to be charged publicly by the court. Her husband,  former president Laurent Gbagbo, is currently in ICC custody awaiting his confirmation of charges hearing, (similar to probable cause to proceed to trial).  Ivory Coast is not an ICC state party, but acceded to the authority of the court to investigate the post-election violence.  Mrs. Gbagbo is in custody in Ivory Coast, and may face trial there.  As apparently the two remaining indictees in Libya may stay in Libya for trials.  Libya has made clear it does not wish to send Saif Qadafi to the ICC, but wants to proceed with a trial in Libya.


Will Muammar Qadafi Appear at the ICC?

When the United Nations referred the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in February, there seemed to be a theory that it would reduce the violence with which the regime responded, and that it would deter others from responding to uprisings with force.  Neither has quite happened, and now there seems to be a growing movement to ignore the ICC indictment and let Libya determine the appropriate resolution for Qadafi.  Since rebels took control of Tripoli, it has been reported that a bounty of $2 million has been placed on the “arrest or death” of Qadafi, along with amnesty for the claimant.

In July, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Qadafi, his son Saif, and the country’s intelligence chief.  British Prime Minister David Cameron recently appeared to voice support for a Libyan process rather than the ICC process.  This led to at least one commentator to argue to the contrary.  According to lawyer Geoffrey Robertson:

It is too much to expect that Gaddafi can receive justice at the hands of those whom he has repressed for so long, in a corrupt judicial system that he controlled (and so could not be considered “judicial” in any real sense). It must now be reconstructed from scratch, with new judges independent of the National Transitional Council. That gimcrack organisation’s UN spokesman said that it wants to organise Gaddafi’s trial, but it is plainly unable to secure an unbiased legal process when he does fall into its hands. The bounty on his head seems to confirm the NTC’s preference for Gaddafi’s summary execution.

There is a more important reason of principle why the fate of the Gaddafis must not be left to the Libyans. The colonel is charged with crimes against humanity – the mass murder of civilians by perpetrating offences so barbaric that the very fact that a fellow human being can commit them demeans us all. Ordering the massacre of 1,200 captives in a prison compound, blowing 270 people out of the sky over Lockerbie, and almost as many in a UTA passenger jet over Chad a few months later – these are merely the most egregious examples of international crimes committed by the worst man left in the world. It is essential, therefore, that Gaddafi face real justice in The Hague and not revenge in Benghazi.

This is a bit of overstatement, given that the mandate from the U.N. Security Council was only to investigate crimes against humanity, war crimes occurring since February, 2011.  Other commentators have questioned whether the ICC has the tools and credibility to carry out the investigation and prosecution, with all the cases going on, the lead prosecutor leaving at the end of his term next year.

Whatever the resolution of the Libya cases, whether or not they wind up in The Hague will be a key test of the credibility of the ICC.  Can the ICC truly be an institution of international justice or will it be a threat rarely fulfilled?