ICC judges to rule on Jan 15 over the acquittal request of ex-Ivorian leader
The former President of Cote D'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo has already sent his request to be acquitted. Judges at the International Criminal Court will reportedly rule out on Tuesday, January 14 over his request to be released after over seven years in custody.
Both Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are currently on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2016 for crimes against humanity during the presidency of Gbagbo. Legal experts say that during the trial, which is roughly half over, prosecutors presented a lot of evidence crimes occurred, but few witnesses could link the ex-Ivory Coast leader directly, as reported by CTGN Africa.
"The prosecutor had a lot of insider witnesses, but if you look at their actual testimony it seems like many were afraid to implicate themselves. A real link between the former president and the alleged crimes is hard to make," opined Thijs Bouwknegt, an Amsterdam University researcher on genocide.
A collapse of the case against Gbagbo, the first former head of state to stand trial at the ICC who has been in custody since November 2011, could bolster opponents questioning its effectiveness after just three war crimes convictions in 15 years. If the court supports assertions by Gbagbo's defence team that prosecutors have failed to present evidence supporting the charges, judges could order his release. Prosecutors argue the evidence shows Gbagbo and his inner circle hatched a plan to cling to power by whatever means necessary and that the trial should continue.
But the panel of three judges has been split over his ongoing custody, with one repeatedly insisting Gbagbo should be released provisionally while awaiting the outcome. The provisional release can be granted if the judges are satisfied the suspect will return for trial and not obstruct or endanger the court's work. They will start reading their decision at 1000GMT in The Hague, Reuters reported.