Laurent Gbagbo, the biggest fish

2011-11-30 20:52

The Hague - The arrival of ex-Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo to face justice before the International Criminal Court has handed prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo the court's "biggest fish" on a platter, experts said on Wednesday.

"It's certainly a big fish, the largest to date," said Willem van Genugten, international law professor at the southern Tilburg University.

Gbagbo is the first former head of state to face trial before the ICC.

Now behind bars at the court's detention unit in The Hague, Gbagbo is the sixth suspect to be handed over to the ICC, which does not have its own police to make arrests.

Previously former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba had been the most senior politician in the ICC's custody, Van Genugten said.

"There have been other warrants, such as the one against Omar al-Bashir, but well, it's not working," added Goran Sluiter, international criminal law professor at Amsterdam University, referring to the Sudanese president who has been sought by the court since 2009.

Bashir continues to thumb his nose at the ICC, where he is wanted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. He also continues to travel the world, including to countries which signed the ICC's Rome Statute and are supposed to help the court by arresting its suspects.

"I think the Ivory Coast realises it's unable to secure a fair trial [against Gbagbo], which is why it asked the ICC to do so," Van Genugten said.

President Alassane Ouattara, Gbagbo's former rival, asked the ICC on May 3 to probe the "most serious crimes" committed in the Ivory Coast following the second round of a presidential poll on November 28 last year.

Victor's justice

The west African country's new rulers had been pressing for weeks to have him transferred to ICC headquarters in The Hague and the move came less than two weeks before the December 11 legislative elections in the former French colony.

"In other words, Luis Moreno-Ocampo did not have to do much," said Van Genugten.

Sluiter added: "Let's not forget that [Gbagbo] is someone who has lost power, is on the losing side and was already in jail," as he warned against what he termed "victors' justice".

Sluiter pointed out Moreno-Ocampo's pledge that both sides will be investigated in the conflict that, according to the United Nations, left some 3 000 dead.

"It's a bit as if he said both sides will be investigated just for form's sake," Sluiter added.

The international law professor did recognise however that for "practical reasons" it was easier to judge losers before the winners, especially to ensure co-operation as long as possible.

Gbagbo's transfer came in the twilight of Moreno-Ocampo's tenure as the ICC's chief prosecutor, a few months before the end of his mandate in June 2012. His successor is to be chosen in December.

"I do not know what the contribution of Luis Moreno-Ocampo was but of course it is very convenient for him that it happened at that time," said Christophe Paulussen, a researcher at the Asser Institute, specialising in international justice.

NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

The most epic YouTube mashup of 2014

Try to see how many of these things gone viral you recognise in this epic mashup YouTube video!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Stay in shape this summer
Ultimate fails compilation 2014
This sleeping bulldog is you during the holidays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are in an innovative mood and may want to break out and do your own thing today. The Moon moves into Aries which emphasizes...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.