[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday unsealed an arrest warrant [press release] for an Ivory Coast politician charged with four counts of crimes against humanity. Charles 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. Ble Goude’s arrest warrant [text, PDF] states that his group “targeted civilians who they considered were supporters of Mr Ouattara, and the attacks were often directed at specific ethnic or religious communities.” The ICC will next prepare a request for Ble Goude’s cooperation and surrender.
The arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude 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 earlier this month, which reported 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.