ICC probes how Gbagbo witnesses were revealed

Sunday February 7 2016

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo attends a pre-trial hearing on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on February 19, 2013. The ICC is investigating how names of witnesses in the Gbagbo case were revealed. PHOTO | AFP

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo attends a pre-trial hearing on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on February 19, 2013. The ICC is investigating how names of witnesses in the Gbagbo case were revealed. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
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THE HAGUE, Saturday

The International Criminal Court says it will investigate how the names of at least four confidential witnesses in the trial of former president Laurent Gbagbo were accidentally revealed.

“Friday’s incident in which a closed session of Gbagbo’s crimes against humanity trial was mistakenly broadcast on the court’s public channel will be investigated,” the ICC’s head of public information Sonia Robla said.

A clip of the hearing widely circulated on social media including on the YouTube video channel, shows ICC judge Cuno Tarfusser calling for the trial to go into a closed session at the request of lead prosecutor Eric MacDonald.

But the microphones are left open and MacDonald can be heard saying that he wants to raise the issue of witness protection.

Due to security concerns about the identity of witnesses the ICC has been monitoring social networks like Facebook and Twitter, he says.

“Certain bloggers and journalists are trying to find out the identities of witnesses 9, 10 and 11,” MacDonald says, according to the French translation of his comments in one YouTube clip.

But he then goes on to pronounce the names to the judges, which are clearly overheard on the public channel.

A fourth name was revealed later.