Ivory Coast to send Ble Goude to face charges at the ICC

ABIDJAN Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:58am EDT

Charles Ble Goude, minister of youth and employment in Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo's government, speaks during a rally with youths in Yopougon, Abidjan December 29, 2010. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Charles Ble Goude, minister of youth and employment in Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo's government, speaks during a rally with youths in Yopougon, Abidjan December 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/ Thierry Gouegnon

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast will send Charles Ble Goude, a former youth leader and close ally of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, to the International Criminal Court where he is wanted on charges of crimes against humanity, the justice minister said on Thursday.

"The cabinet has agreed to send Ble Goude to the International Criminal Court," Gnenema Mamadou Coulibaly told reporters. "We are going to study how to quickly execute this decision."

The ICC said in October it had issued an arrest warrant for Ble Goude, who headed the notorious Young Patriots street militia during Gbagbo's presidency, for his alleged role in violence following a disputed 2010 general election.

Gbagbo, who refused to give up power after losing the presidential runoff in 2010, has been in the ICC's custody since November 2011, accused of responsibility for rapes, murders, persecution and inhuman acts.

Goude had requested to be tried by an Ivorian court and not sent to the Hague. The ICC has been criticized by some African governments, which say it unfairly targets the continent.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Emma Farge)

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