The Hague, Netherlands - International Criminal Court prosecutors urged judges 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.
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.