International Criminal Court: Rejection of Mr Blé Goudé's claim for compensation
Grace ATALUI MOKANGO
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights defence
Charles Blé Goudé, whose case was joined to the one of Laurent Gbagbo in 2015 in the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, was prosecuted and tried for crimes against humanity. However, the Trial Chamber I acquitted him of all these charges on 15 January 2019, and this acquittal decision was confirmed on 31 January 2021 by the Court's Appeals Chamber.
Following this final acquittal decision, Mr Blé Goudé filed a request for compensation with the Presidency of the Court.
On 14 September 2021, the Chamber constituted to examine the said request under article 85(3) of the Rome Statute rendered its decision on 10 February 2022 rejecting the said request. The press release points out that the Chamber recalled that according to article 85 of the Statute, the Court may in its discretion award compensation "in exceptional circumstances, where the Court finds conclusive facts showing that there has been a grave and manifest miscarriage of justice". The Chamber considered that Article 85(3) should not be interpreted as providing a right to compensation in all cases resulting in an acquittal and that a 'failed' prosecution does not necessarily mean that the prosecution was 'wrongful', irrespective of whether the accused spent time in detention. To consider that "a grave and manifest miscarriage of justice" took place there must be concrete evidence of a violation so serious and exceptional resulting in the proper administration of justice being compromised.
Composed of Judges Reine Alapini-Gansou, Presiding Judge, Joanna Korner and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godínez, the Chamber found that Mr Blé Goudé's rights to a fair trial were guaranteed, that the prosecution's actions did not constitute an abuse of process, and that no other form of serious and manifest miscarriage of justice has been shown to have occurred.
Sources and further reading:
International Criminal Court, Press release (10 feb 2022), ICC Judges reject Mr Blé Goudé’s request for compensation, from : https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=pr1639
International Criminal Court, Case sheet information, The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, from : https://www.icc-cpi.int/CaseInformationSheets/gbagbo-goudeEng.pdf