Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé

Case Name: 
Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé
ICC-02/11-01/15-1263-AnxB (Opinion of the Majority, "Reasons of Judge Henderson")
Decision Date: 
January 15, 2019
Key Facts: 

More than 1,000 people were killed and many more wounded in violence that erupted in Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) from December 2010 to early April 2011, after disputed presidential elections. Former-president Gbagbo and his political ally Blé Goudé are on trial for crimes against humanity committed by his forces during this period and conspiring to keep Gbagbo in office by any means possible after losing the contentious 2010 presidential elections. On Januar 15, 2019, Trial Chamber I (Judge Herrera Carbuccia dissenting) decided to acquit the defendants from all charges. Reasons for the oral decision were filed on July 16, 2019. In particular, the Chamber concluded that the Prosecutor had failed to demonstrate several core constitutive elements of the crimes as charged, including the existence of a “common plan” and a “policy to attack a civilian population”. Further, the Prosecutor failed to demonstrate that public speeches made by defendants constituted ordering, soliciting or inducing the alleged crimes. The Appeals Chamber will consider the Prosecutor’s appeal. There are currently no sessions scheduled.



Key Passages : 

ACTUS REUS: “The Prosecutor’s case in relation to Mr Blé Goudé’s alleged acts of aiding and abetting seems to be made up of two parts: first, a list of general contributions that are not specifically linked to any specific crime(s), and, second, a limited number of more focused contribution for three of the charged incidendents” (¶ 2018). “Apart from stating that these contributions “had the effect of strengthening the capability of the pro-Gbagbo forces to commit the crimes charged”, no explanation is offered by the Prosecutor as to how these generic contributions can be linked to the specific crimes.” The Prosecutor’s argument is “too abstract and generic” (¶ 2020). “At this level of abstraction and generality, almost every act in support of an institution or organisation can be said to have made a contribution to the conduct of individual members of such institution or organisation. At some point, the causal link between the contribution and the specific criminal conduct, although theoretically present, becomes so tenuous that it becomes artificial to say that the physical perpetrator was genuinely assisted by the contribution” (¶ 2020). There was no evidence to support that those who allegedly committed violent acts were aware of the speech, and thererfore “difficult to see any basis for a reasonable trial chamber to conclude that the physical perpetrators of the crimes were abetted by Mr Blé Goudé’s words” (¶ 2023).

Trial Chamber I