THE HAGUE, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Tuesday unsealed an arrest warrant against Ivorian politician Charles Ble Goude for alleged crimes against humanity.
Ble Goude, 41, is charged with 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 Cote d'Ivoire between Dec. 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011.
The arrest warrant for Ble Goude is the third one issued in the situation in Cote d'Ivoire, after warrants issued against Laurent Gbagbo on Nov. 23, 2011 and against Simone Gbagbo on Feb. 29, 2012.
The 68-year-old Laurent Gbagbo was president of Cote d'Ivoire from 2000 until his arrest in April 2011. He was charged with crimes against humanity, allegedly committed on his behalf in post-electoral violence in his country. Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC's detention unit in The Hague on Nov. 30, 2011.
Ble Goude supported the ideas and policies of Gbagbo and was nominated as Minister for Sports and Youth in 2010. He was arrested by the Ghanaian Police in January 2013 and flown to Abidjan, where he remained in custody.
Pre-trial Judges of the ICC found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that in the aftermath of the presidential elections, pro-Gbagbo forces attacked the civilian population in Abidjan and in the west of the country, targeting civilians who they believed were supporters of the opposing candidate Alassane Ouattara.
The chamber also found reason to believe that a plan existed between Gbagbo and his inner circle to commit the crimes.
"Ble Goude, as a member of Gbagbo's inner circle, allegedly exercised joint control over the crimes, and made a coordinated and essential contribution to the realization of the plan," the ICC stated.
"He 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 the Ivorian Defense and Security Forces, which were reinforced by youth militias and mercenaries loyal to Gbagbo."
Ble Goude has always denied playing any role in the violence that left at least 3,000 dead.
The question now is, if or when he will be handed over to the ICC. Cote d'Ivoire has accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC and also ratified the Rome Statute, but Simone Gbagbo has so far not been transferred to The Hague.