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ICC Prosecutors Urge Judges To Continue Ivory Coast Trial

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ICC Prosecutors Urge Judges To Continue Ivory Coast Trial

International Criminal Court prosecutors urged judges on Monday to continue the trial of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and a government ex-minister on trial for their alleged involvement in deadly violence that erupted after the country’s disputed 2010 presidential election.

Lawyers for Gbagbo and former youth minister Charles Ble Goude filed motions earlier this year arguing that prosecutors presented insufficient evidence for the trial to continue and calling for the immediate acquittal of both men. The calls came at the end of the prosecution case.

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But the court’s deputy prosecutor, James Stewart, told the three-judge trial panel that the evidence so far is strong enough for the case to continue.

“At this midway stage of the trial proceedings, is there evidence … upon which any trial chamber acting reasonably could find the accused guilty of the charges?” Stewart said. “We submit the answer to that question is: Yes.”

Gbagbo and Ble Goude, who were both in court for Monday’s hearing, have pleaded not guilty to four crimes against humanity charges, including murder and rape allegedly committed by pro-Gbagbo supporters during post-election violence that left 3 000 people dead.

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Prosecutors accuse Gbagbo of unleashing violence in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to cling to office after losing a runoff to now-President Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo’s historic trial, the International Criminal Court’s first against a former head of state, began in January 2016.

Efforts by ICC prosecutors to hold leaders responsible for crimes committed by subordinates or supporters have repeatedly run into serious problems.

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The case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who also was accused of involvement — before he became president — in post-election violence in his country, collapsed in December 2014 and earlier this year a former Congolese vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, was acquitted on appeal of crimes allegedly committed by his militia in the Central African Republic.

 

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African News

Morocco: Teachers Protest Over Poor Working Conditions

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Morocco: Teachers Protest Over Poor Working Condition

More than ten thousand Moroccan teachers have staged a new protest in the capital, Rabat, on Sunday to demand better working conditions.  This followed another demonstration that was broken up by police.

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These nationwide teacher strikes in Morocco have continued for three weeks and have drawn at least seventy-thousand public school teachers, marching across the country to protest against a new teacher employment contract they see as an attack on their rights and financial security.

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Their demands include legal due process for teachers facing dismissal, protection of the right to strike, periodic pay increases, increased teacher training, improved student transport and construction of more schools.

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Cyclone Idai: Cases Of Cholera Reported In Storm-Hit Areas

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Cyclone Idai: Cases Of Cholera Reported In Hit Areas

Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe were hit last week by one of the biggest and most aggressive cyclones ever recorded in the Southern African region.  It took the storm a few hours to kill hundreds, topple homes, uproot trees and leave scores of residents submerged in water.

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Mozambique’s third largest city, Beira, received the largest share of the devastation.  The Port City was turned upside down.  The extent of the devastation is massive, and the city is still primarily without electricity, running water and mobile phone service.

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Relief organizations, including the international federation of the red cross and red crescent societies, say some cases of cholera had already been reported.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe storm victims now face grief and hunger.  The country’s entertainment stars have organized a concert to raise funds to help victims.  There is growing fear of starvation in communities that have been cut off by smashed bridges or destroyed roads.

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UN says Death Toll From Massacre In Mali Now Up To 134

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United Nations says Death Toll From Massacre In Mali Now 134

The United Nations says death toll from massacre in a village in Mali has risen to 134.

An ethnic Dogon militia, already blamed for scores of attacks in central Mali over the past year, is said to have attacked an ethnic village just before dawn on Saturday. The militia accused the ethnic community of having ties to jihadist groups.

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A visiting UN representative said in Bamako the killings are an “unspeakable attack.”  Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutterres condemned the attack and called on Malian authorities to swiftly investigate and bring perpetrators to justice.

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