By Sanna Camara
An Ivorian national serving as prosecution witness in the trial against Laurent Gbagbo at the Hague yesterday told judges that his younger brother was shot dead and a bullet lodged in his own leg as a result of shots fired at peaceful protesters in 2010 post-election violence in Abidjan.
Under ICC regulations, witnesses cannot be named by the press for their protection but the middle aged man recounted these events vividly how he had to go to the morgue to identify and claim the body of his brother. Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, former President of Côte d’Ivoire, was surrendered to the ICC on 30 November 2011 and faces charges of murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution.
“My life has been permanently changed since then…. Doctors told me little inches further, I wouldn’t have been saved,” the witness recounted, as he confirmed to the court a medical report tendered as evidence to the effect. He also confirmed that it was a Belgian doctor who conducted surgery on him following the shootings that took place at Cocody District of Abidjan in 2010.
Election violence, deaths
Gbagbo’s co-accused, Charles Blé Goudé, born on 1 January 1972 in Niagbrahio, Côte d’Ivoire, was also surrendered on 22 March 2014 to the ICC by the national authorities of Côte d´Ivoire following a warrant of arrest issued by the ICC on 21 December 2011. He also faces charges of four charges of crimes against humanity (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution.
The 2010 presidential election between incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and opposition member Alasane Outtara resulted in a political stalemate and violence conflict after Gbagbo refused to honour the results that declared Outtara the winner. As of April 2011, UN secretary General ban Ki Moon reported that over 1000 civilians died as a result of clashes, and the UN high Commissioner for Refugees stated that more than 500, 000 Ivorian were forcibly displaced, 94,000 fled to neighbouring Liberia out of fear of violence.
Meanwhile, Gbagbo yesterday appeared in the trial chambers of the ICC in a black suit without a tie, grey hairs on his head and beard. He was flanked by security guards seated, as prosecutor Maria Berdinnikova questions witness.