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Judges order review of Gbagbo’s detention

From
Demond Davies, London Bureau

London, July 21, GNA –
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered a
review of the decision to continue to detain the former President of Cote d’Ivoire,
Laurent Gbagbo, who is accused of crimes against humanity.

Laurent Gbagbo is
accused of four counts of crimes against humanity that he allegedly committed
during the 2010/2011 post-election violence in that country.

Hostilities erupted
after the presidential election result was disputed by supporters of the
incumbent, Mr Gbagbo, and his opponent, current President Alassane
Ouattara.  

In March this year,
the ICC’s Trial Chamber 1 ruled that Mr Gbagbo, who is charged alongside his
former Youth Minister, Charles Blé Goudé, should continue to remain in
detention.

His lawyers however
appealed to the Appeals Chamber, which ordered a review of Mr Gbagbo’s
continued incarceration, saying, the Trial Chamber “committed a number of
errors”.

The judgement, read by
Judge Piotr Hofmanski, said the Trial Chamber was wrong to use Mr Gbagbo’s
advanced age, 72, against his release because “it is generally more appropriate
for age to be considered in such a manner rather than as a factor that could
evidence a motivation to abscond”.

The Trial Chamber also
failed to consider the length of time Mr Gbagbo had spent in detention and the
state of his health, according to the Appeals Chamber.

“Furthermore, despite
the presumption of innocence and Mr Gbagbo’s right not to be compelled to
testify or to confess guilt, the Trial Chamber erroneously relied on the fact
that he has denied responsibility for crimes with which he is charged,” the
judgement said.

The Appeals Chamber
therefore reversed the decision to keep Mr Gbagbo in detention and sent the
matter back to the Trial Chamber for a new review, adding that it was in no way
“suggesting or predetermining what the outcome of the Trial Chamber’s new
review should be”.

Meanwhile, the former
Ivorian leader will remain in detention.

The trial of Mr
Gbagbo, the first African leader to appear before the ICC, as well as Mr Blé
Goudé began in January 2016.

GNA

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