ICC Appeals Chamber upholds decision acquitting Laurent Gbagbo

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its judgment on the Prosecutor’s appeal against Trial Chamber’s decision of 15 January 2019, which had acquitted, Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo.

The Hague-based court disclosed on Wednesday that Gbagbo and his co-accused Blé Goudé got a not guilty verdict of all charges of crime against humanity, allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire in 2010 and 2011.

The Appeals Chamber confirmed, by the majority, Judge Ibáñez and Judge Bossa dissenting, the decision of the Trial Chamber.

“The acquittal of Mr. Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé is now final.” The court said on Wednesday.

“The Appeals Chamber had found that the evidence against the two accused had been ‘exceptionally weak’.” The court added

The Appeals Chamber also revoked all conditions on the release of Gbagbo and Ble Goudé and directed the ICC Registrar to make arrangements for the safe transfer of the two to a receiving State or States.

During the hearing, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, Presiding Judge in this appeal, read a summary of the judgment in open court in the presence of Gbagbo and Ble Goudé.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the judgment was delivered on a partially virtual basis, with participation either from the seat of the Court, or from separate locations outside the Court.

In its judgment, the Appeals Chamber rejected, by majority, the Prosecutor’s two grounds of appeal that the Trial Chamber’s decision to acquit Gbagbo and Blé Goudé had violated statutory requirements and that it was taken without properly articulating and consistently applying a clearly defined standard of proof and its approach to assessing the sufficiency of the evidence.

“The Appeals Chamber found inter alia that, whilst trial chambers should ideally deliver both the verdict and reasons concurrently, a delay between the issuance of a verdict and its reasons cannot necessarily invalidate an entire trial process.” The court said


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