The Côte d’Ivoire Coalition for the ICC has welcomed the transfer of Charles Blé Goudé to The Hague. Blé Goudé made his first appearance before the Court today.
Last Saturday, Côte d’Ivoire authorities transferred the alleged former leader of the Young Patriots militia to the Court in response to an ICC arrest warrant of December 2011.
Blé Goudé had been in detention in Côte d’Ivoire after his arrest in Ghana in January last year.
Earlier this month, ICC judges refused the government’s request to delay his transfer.
Suspected of orchestrating crimes against humanity
The prosecution alleges Blé Goudé is responsible for orchestrating crimes against humanity allegedly committed by members of the Young Patriots during Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010-11 post-electoral violence.
Young Patriots is the youth wing of the political movement of former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo, who is also in ICC custody awaiting a decision on whether his case will move to trial.
Some 3,000 were reported killed during a crisis after Gbagbo refused to accept electoral defeat to the now President Alassane Ouattara.
Civil society has urged the ICC to investigate and prosecute all those responsible for grave crimes on both sides of the political divide.
Protests innocence, alleges mistreatment
During today’s hearing before the single judge of Pre-Trial Chamber I, Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Blé Goudé confirmed his identity and that had been informed of both the charges against him and his rights.
Blé Goudé declared his innocence, stating that he was a political communications consultant and respects the rule of law.
He also alleged that during 14 months of detention in Côte d’Ivoire he became malnourished and was not allowed access to his lawyers or family. He further claimed that his transfer to The Hague was poorly and unfairly executed.
The Chamber set 18 August 2014 as the date for the confirmation of charges hearing, which will decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to move to trial.
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