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Charges hearing postponed in ICC Ble Goude case

[JURIST] The Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] today postponed [press release] the commencement of the confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Charles Ble Goude [Trial Watch backgrounder] at the defense's request to complete its preparation. The hearing, previously scheduled for September 22, is postponed to September 29. Ble Goude is accused of working with former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] 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.

In March, Ble Goude made his first appearance before the ICC after being surrendered [JURIST report] by the national authorities of the Ivory Coast. 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.

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