by George Hatfield on 10 Jul 2012 | Comments
Charles Blé Goudé, the leader of the Young Patriots group that supported ex-President Laurent Gbagbo has said in an interview that he would be willing to go to The Hague and face trial with his former boss Mr Gbagbo who faces charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
Mr Gbagbo’s refusal to concede defeat in the November 2010 presidential elections saw huge armed clashes between his supporters and those of his rival, the current president Alassane Ouattara. The clashes are thought to have left some 3000 people dead.
Blé Goudé, the former youth minister, is alleged to have spurred support for Mr Gbagbo with impassioned speeches encouraging thousands of young men to join the army in the days before the election dispute. He is said to have urged them to mobilise against what he called the pro-Ouattara “rebels” and their foreign backers: France and the UN.
Since Mr Gbagbo’s capture, Blé Goudé has been in hiding in exile, as he says that “people are looking to kill [him]”. He says that he is happy to appear in front of the ICC to sort who is to blame for the violence, and argues that he is “blameless”. Blé Goudé claims that he was “not an advocate of weapons” and “never maintained a single militia”.
Although the Ivory Coast issued an international arrest warrant last year, the ICC has not yet followed suit and issued its own. However it is thought that he is likely to be one of those who could be targeted by the court. In December 2010, former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-OCampo stated that “If as a consequence of Mr. Charles Blé Goudé’s speeches, there is massive violence, he could be prosecuted”.
Blé Goudé did note that reconciliation was important for the Ivory Coast and believed that both sides of the political divide had to learn to live together for there to be peace in the Ivory Coast.
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Source: International Criminal Law Bureau