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ICC postpones proceedings against former Ivory Coast president

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday gave prosecutors until November 15 [press release] to develop their evidence against former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo [JURIST news archive]. Ggabo is the first former head of state to come before the court and is charged with crimes relating to the civil war that broke out when he refused to step down after the 2010 election [JURIST news archive]. The judges expressed dismay at the quality of evidence submitted, insinuating that it was not strong enough to merit a trial, but not weak enough to dismiss the charges. Specifically, the court recommended that the prosecution strengthen the proof that the election-based violence was related to Ggabo's political chain of command.

A 2012 report from the National Commission of Inquiry [official summary, PDF] found both pro-Gbagbo and pro-President Alassane Ouattara forces responsible for serious international crimes. However, of the 150 individuals arrested and charged, none was of the pro-Ouattara forces. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Ouattara to fulfill his commitment to justice for the victims of those events. While the Ivorian government has increased the national budget amount allocated to the justice sector from 2 to 3 percent, the report asks the government to develop a more comprehensive prosecutorial strategy, establish a witness protection program and provide security for judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers.

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