Gbagbo: is there a new prosecution case?

04 April 2014 by Blake Evans-Pritchard, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Will the evidence be sufficient this time? After a series of hearings last year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) judges told the prosecution to think again. The central challenge is how to establish, more convincingly than a year ago, 'the absolute authority' that former president Laurent Gbagbo allegedly exerted over the Ivorian security forces. 

Asserting that the evidence the prosecution had submitted is "apparently insufficient", the pre-trial chamber declined to confirm charges against Gbagbo in June 2013. Judges asked the prosecution to provide further evidence about the organizational structure of pro-Gbagbo forces, including how the different subgroups "interacted within the overall structure and especially how the inner circle' coordinated, funded and supplied the means for the activities of the different sub-groups". They also requested further details about 'how, when and by whom the alleged policy / plan to attack the "pro-Ouattara civilian population" was adopted'. Judges stressed that the prosecution's case lacked sufficient details about each of the alleged incidents. For one particular incident, the 17 March 2011 shelling of Abobo, north of the capital Abidjan, judges said that the accusation should be backed up with "forensic or other evidence indicating who fired the ammunition and what their alleged target was".

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