Ivory Coast national Charles Blé Goudé has been transferred to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity linked to a 2011 post-election civil war in the country.
Known as “The Street General”, his fiery speeches drew thousands of supporters onto the streets.
The ally of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo had previously been asked to be tried by an Ivorian court following his arrest in Ghana in January 2013.
But Ivory Coast government officials said they had decided to hand Blé Goudé over to the court.
“The Ivorian government informs the national and international communities that Mr Charles Blé Goudé was today transferred to The Hague,” said a statement from government spokesman Bruno Kone read on state television.
Fatou Bensouda, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, welcomed the news: “We are a step closer in helping to unveil the full truth in one of Côte d’Ivoire’s (Ivory Coast) worst episodes of mass violence,” she said. “Those who use violence and commit mass crimes against civilians in pursuit of power must be held accountable.”
However, lawyers for Gbagbo and Blé Goudé say current President Alassane Ouattara is using the court as a convenient political tool for getting rid of his political enemies.
They have also criticised prosecutors for only bringing cases against Gbagbo and his allies.
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