Tag Archives: rape

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.


Prosecution Asks to Declare its Witness as Hostile in Katanga and Chui Trial

At the trial of Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngdolo Chui for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the prosecution asked that its witness be declared hostile.  The prosecutor reportedly noticed “inconsistencies” and asked the court to declare the witness as hostile.  The court determined that the inconsistencies could be resolved without declaring the witness as hostile and allowed questioning to continue.  A detailed report on the testimony is available here.

Katanga and Chui are the second case to go to trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.  They are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  They are accused of attacking civilian targets, rape, pillaging, using child soldiers and sexual slavery among other charges.  Katanga and Chui had led rebel armies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but had signed peace agreements with the government of the DRC and had joined the Congolese army at the time they were arrested and brought to The Hague.  Their trial began on November 9, 2009.

The situation in DRC was referred to the ICC by the Congolese government.

Lubanga Trial Takes Two Week Break

The International Criminal Court trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was suspended this week for a two week trip for the defense to the Democratic Republic of Congo for important “research,” presumably this means further investigation into the previous allegations that prosecution witnesses lied  or were paid to lie about being child soldiers.  The trial was earlier suspended on Tuesday because of noted differences in the official English and French transcripts.  The reporting from the Open Society Institute, available here, does not make clear whether or not the court had arrived at a resolution of the transcription problem.

The court also ruled that the Lubanga defense could share information on its investigation with the defense team of Germain Katanga, whose trial, along with co-defendant Matthieu Ngdolo Chui was the second trial to start at the ICC. The trial opened on November 26, 2009, and my summary of the case and its opening is available here. Lubanga is the first person to face a trial at the ICC.  Lubanga, Katanga, and Chui were rebel leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and are charged with war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  There are four witnesses who are scheduled to testify for the prosecution in both cases, and the defenses wished to share the information they had collected in their investigations.  Judge Adrian Fulford ruled there was nothing to prevent such sharing between the teams.

Lubanga is accused of using child soldiers in his Union of Congolese Patriots, and Katanga and Chui are charged with  using child soldiers, attacking civilian targets, destruction of property, rape and sexual slavery as war crimes, they are also alleged to have committed crimes against humanity, including murder within the court’s jurisdiction, rape and sexual slavery. Another accused from the DRC, Bosco Ntaganda is still at large.

In the cases of the Sudan, one accused, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda voluntarily appeared at the court, and the charges against him were not confirmed.  A summary of that action is available here.  Three more accused from Sudan remain at large.  In the Uganda case there are four accused, all of whom are still at large.  In the case involving the Central African Republic, there is one accused, Jean-Pierre Gemba, whose trial is expected to begin April 27, 2010.

The International Criminal Court sits in The Hague, Netherlands and is intended to be a permanent court to hear cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide when those cases are not resolved by national authorities.  Thomas Lubanga was the first person brought before the court, he was arrested in 2007, and his trial began in January 2009, the defense began presenting its case in January 2010.  There are also victims who have been given a limited right to participate in the case, and then to seek reparations if they can establish their right to do so.

Nicholas Kristof on War Crimes in The Congo

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times posted in his column today stories of the horrible war crimes being inflicted in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The column, available here, describes the rape of young girls, their being abducted to serve as sex slaves for the rebel armies, and the terror the civilians live in because of the ongoing civil war.

Thomas Lubanga of the DRC is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court for using child soldiers in the conflict.  Charges of rape, abduction and child soldiers were considered, but the court determined the attempt to amend the case was too late and the prosecution was limited to the facts alleged at the confirmation of charges hearing.  Recently the trial resumed with the defense case, and some victims who are seeking reparations testified in support of their case.

The Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngdolo Chui case from the DRC, the second ICC case to go to trial also arose from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Katanga and Chui are charged with directing attacks on civilian targets.

The girls attacked in these cases may be eligible to seek reparations from the warlords convicted at the ICC, and funded by the Association of State’s Parties.  Persons seeking reparations must make application to the court and have a right to legal counsel  at court expense to pursue their claims.