TIME FOR THE ICC TO RELEASE GBAGBO
THIS week, the SACP joined the ranks of those calling for the International Criminal Court to release former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo after growing allegations of gross political interference and manipulation by the former colonial power in his case.
Gbagbo’s trial is under way in the Hague, and it would seem his defence lawyers have easily destroyed the narratives of the ICC prosecutor, who is accused of capitulating to French pressure to try Gbagbo. It would seem this is a case of justice denied after the ICC has held this former African president for seven years without concluding his trial – largely due to a lack of evidence.
Gbagbo was arrested in 2011 by French forces and handed to his competitor Alassane Ouattara’s rebel forces – Ouattara is considered France’s “man” in the Ivory Coast. Following the irregular arrest, he was transferred to the ICC in the Hague, and targeted by prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was perceived by many to have been a tool of Western powers.
As Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth said at the time, “Ocampo was more interested in issuing arrest warrants than in conducting criminal investigations.”
The ICC was allocated a budget of €4million to €8m to investigate allegations of post-election violence against Gbagbo, but failed to investigate the same allegations levied against Ouattara, even though Ouattara’s forces were alleged to have massacred hundreds of civilians, at one point 800 in two days. It should be noted that France contributes 10% of the ICC budget.
When Gbagbo’s trial started in February 2013,