THE HAGUE, Oct 1 – The International Criminal Court issued a warrant against ex-Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo’s youth leader almost two years ago, the tribunal said in a statement.
Charles Ble Goude, once known as the “Street General”, is detained in Ivory Coast and wanted by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity during the 2010-2011 post-election violence.
Goude, 40, “allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution, and other inhuman acts” allegedly committed in Africa’s largest cocoa grower between December 2010 and April 2011, the Hague-based ICC said.
As part of former Ivorian president Laurent Ggagbo’s inner circle, Goude, leader of the often violent “Young Patriots” militia, “allegedly had the power to control and give instructions directly to the youth who were systematically recruited, armed, trained and integrated into the chain of command,” of forces loyal to Gbagbo.
The arrest warrant is the third to be issued in its investigation into crimes committed in the Ivory Coast, following earlier warrants issued for Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone.
Goude was arrested on January 17 in Ghana after more than a year-and-a-half on the run and extradited to the Ivory Coast the following day.
He also faces charges under Ivorian law.
Post-poll violence erupted in the west African country in late 2010 when Gbagbo refused to concede defeat against his rival and current Ivorian President Alassane Outtara, killing more than 3,000 people in some five months of civil unrest.
Gbagbo himself has been behind bars at the ICC’s detention unit since November 2011, where he is facing crimes against humanity charges relating to the violence.
Simone Gbagbo remains in the Ivory Coast, which has told the world crimes court it had the capacity to put her in the dock at home.