ICC Charges Former Ivory Coast Leader Gbagbo

Posted November 30th, 2011 at 1:45 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo on Monday will make his first appearance before the International Criminal Court, which has charged him with four counts of crimes against humanity.

The ICC says the hearing is to ensure the former Ivorian leader is informed of his rights and the charges against him.

The Hague-based court says Mr. Gbagbo was an indirect co-perpetrator in crimes that include rape and murder, committed during post-election violence in Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April of this year.

It says there are “reasonable grounds” to believe pro-Gbagbo forces attacked civilians in the city of Abidjan and in western Ivory Coast, targeting people thought to have supported Mr. Gbagbo's opponent.

The violence started after Mr. Gbagbo refused to give up power after losing the election to current President Alassane Ouattara.

The ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said in a statement that investigations continue and Mr. Gbagbo is only the first to be brought before the court. The prosecutor also warned leaders that violence is “no longer an option” for retaining or gaining power.

Mr. Gbagbo arrived in the Netherlands late Tuesday after being held under house arrest in northern Ivory Coast since April.

The international court's top prosecutor launched a probe in October to determine Mr. Gbagbo's possible role in war crimes.

At least 3,000 people were killed during the power struggle that ended with Mr. Gbagbo's arrest and the swearing in of Mr. Ouattara as president.

Moreno-Ocampo has said there is evidence that both Ouattara and Gbagbo supporters committed war crimes.

Mr. Ouattara has created a reconciliation panel aimed at unifying Ivory Coast. He has also vowed to hold accountable anyone who committed crimes during the unrest.