I. Coast's Gbagbo 'in shock' over transfer to ICC: lawyer

2nd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Ivorian ex-president Laurent Gbagbo is "in shock" over his sudden transfer to the International Criminal Court to face murder and rape charges, his lawyer Emmanuel Altit told AFP on Friday.

"He is still in shock over the surprise and suddenness of this removal, but at the same time he is lucid and ready to fight," said Altit, who met with his client on Thursday at the ICC's detention centre in a suburb of The Hague.

The two were to meet again on Friday.

"It was something very painful, hard to endure, brutal," said Altit, adding that Gbagbo, 66, "never knew what to expect because the defence was taken by surprise".

Gbagbo was unaware that the transfer would take place immediately after he was informed on Tuesday of his indictment at the main courthouse in Korhogo, the northern town where he been detained since April.

"When I saw him yesterday, he was wearing only the shirt and trousers he had on in Korhogo. No one told him he was leaving," Altit said, asserting that "no rules were respected" during the hearing in Korhogo on Tuesday.

"When he left the Korhogo courthouse, he thought he was going back to his cell, but instead he was going to the Korhogo airport to take a helicopter for Abidjan," from where he flew to The Hague, Altit said.

Gbagbo on Wednesday became the first former head of state to be handed over to the ICC, where he will face charges of murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts.

The crimes were allegedly committed between December 16, 2010, and April 12, 2011 -- a period of post-electoral violence as Gbagbo refused to accept election results which showed his rival Alassane Ouattara had won.

Some 3,000 people were killed in the clashes.

Gbagbo will make his first appearance before ICC judges on Monday, when he will ask the court to recognise the "irregularity of his arrest (and) transfer to The Hague," Altit said.

© 2011 AFP

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