Sunday, July 3, 2011

Arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude

You would remember that during the post-election standoff between Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, it was reported that Charles Ble Goude, Youth Minister under now ousted and humiliated President Laurent Gbagbo, was inciting violence against opposition supporters and foreigners. Ivory Coast has now issued an arrest warrant for the runaway "street General."

On 25 February 2011, Charles Ble Goude, urged young Gbagbo supporters to "join the army", "denounce" foreigners and "liberate" the nation.

His call for "real" Ivorians to attack foreigners led to a spike in violence against foreigners in Ivory Coast. Foreigners from other African countries including Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Bukina Faso were attacked by pro-Gbagbo youths and some were beaten to death or burned alive.

It is worth highlighting that these deathly attacks came after Charles Ble Goude, publicly urged Ivorian youths to "denounce" foreigners. The crimes committed by Gbagbo youths under the influence of Goude, according to Human Rights Watch, amount to crimes against humanity.

In March, thousands of youths reportedly responded to Goude's call to join the army and gathered at a military base in Abidjan to take up arms against opposition supporters.

A Public Prosecutor in Ivory Coast issued an international arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude on 1 July 2011.

Ble Goude is wanted for inciting hatred, ethnic violence and xenophobia. [Source]. The former Youth Minister reportedly fled the country following the fall of his boss, Laurent Gbagbo.

Incitement of violence is unacceptable and perpetrators should face justice for crimes committed. The issuance of an arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude is welcomed, but it is only a step towards justice. Concrete steps should be taken to bring Goude to book for his role in the recent post-election violence which claimed many innocent lives in Ivory Coast.

According to Reuters, Goude is believed to be hiding in Ghana.

There should be international cooperation to bring the militant youth leader justice.

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