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ICC: Ivorian Charles Ble Goude pleads 'not guilty'

ICC: Ivorian Charles Ble Goude pleads 'not guilty'


Charles Ble Goude, an ally of Ivory Coast ex-President Laurent Gbagbo said on Tuesday before the International Criminal Court (ICC) judges that he was not responsible for the chaos that erupted after a disputed presidential poll in the west African country which left 3,000 dead.

Goude, 42, a former youth minister, faces four counts including murder, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts for his role in a bloody stand-off that followed.

He has denied all the charges.

The crisis was sparked after long-time Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to concede defeat at the polls against rival Alassane Ouattara.

As the leader of the “Young Patriots”, a fanatical group of Gbagbo supporters, Goude “bears responsibility for some of the worst crimes” committed during the showdown, prosecutors have said.

During the conflict, Ble Goude, dubbed Gbagbo’s “Street General”, whipped up support for Gbagbo with fiery speeches urging mass mobilization against what he called pro-Ouattara “rebels” and their foreign backers.

Prosecutors said Goude commanded men that murdered and raped and burned alive hundreds of people during the post-election violence that ended only after Gbagbo’s arrest following an assault on his fortress-like Abidjan compound by Ouattara’s forces, backed by France and the United Nations.