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Ivory Coast to hand ex-youth leader over to ICC

The Ivory Coast's government on Thursday announced plans to hand over Charles Ble Goude [Trial Watch backgrounder], the former Ivory Coast Minister for Sports and Youth, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. Ble Goude is accused of working with former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archives] to orchestrate a wave of post-election violence between December 2010 and April 2011. Ble Goude is specifically charged with murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts from when he led the youth wing [Reuters report] of Gbagbo's movement against his political opponent Alassane Ouattara. Although Ble Goude has also been charged in Ivory Coast and wished to be tried by his own people, Justice Minister Mamadou Gnenema Coulibaly stated that he should be tried by the international community because he caused harm internationally.

Ble Goude's arrest warrant, unsealed [JURIST report] last October, is the third to be issued for crimes committed in the Ivory Coast during a civil war that broke out when Gbagbo refused to step down after losing the country's 2010 election. An Ivory Coast government statement was released in October reporting that Simone Gbagbo, the wife of Laurent Gbagbo would be tried in the Ivory Coast [JURIST report] on charges of crimes against humanity. In June judges at the ICC gave prosecutors until November 15 [JURIST report] to develop their evidence against Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo is the first former head of state to come before the court. In April Laurent Gbagbo appeared before the ICC [JURIST report] to determine whether the case against him will proceed to trial. Gbagbo's lawyers urged the court to rule that the ICC does not have jurisdiction and that Laurent Gbagbo should be tried by the Ivory Coast authorities currently conducting their own investigation. Gbagbo has been accused of crimes against humanity [ICC arrest warrant] including murder, rape and persecution. A 2012 report [official summary, PDF] from the National Commission of Inquiry found both pro-Gbagbo and pro-President Alassane Ouattara forces responsible for serious international crimes. Simone Gbagbo and her husband were initially arrested in April 2011 and have been held under house arrest since then.

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