TIME FOR THE ICC TO RE­LEASE GBAGBO

The Sunday Independent - - MEDIA & CULTURE - SHAN­NON EBRAHIM shan­[email protected]

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,

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