I.Coast ex-president Gbagbo's trial to open July 7: ICC

17th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo will go on trial for crimes against humanity on July 7 next year, the International Criminal Court said on Monday.

"Today (the) Trial Chamber set the commencement date for the trial in the case the Prosecutor v.

Laurent Gbagbo for 7 July 2015," the Hague-based ICC said in a statement.

Gbagbo, 69, faces four counts of crimes against humanity, allegedly committed at the end of his decade-long rule over the troubled west African country, after he refused to accept defeat in an election in November 2010.

His supporters clashed for five months mainly in the southern economic capital Abidjan with those of President Alassane Ouattara, who was proclaimed winner of the vote by the electoral commission, at a cost of at least 3,000 lives.

Gbagbo was then arrested in April 2011 by pro-Ouattara forces with backing from former colonial power France and the United Nations.

He was transferred to the Hague the following November, becoming the first ex-head of state to face prosecution at the ICC.

He and his aides are accused of "ordering, seeking, encouraging or contributing in any other way" to murders, rapes, inhuman acts and persecution.

Gbagbo claims that he was ousted in favour of Ouattara as part of a plot by France, while his many remaining supporters in Ivory Coast and some civil society organisations denounce "victor's justice".

The ICC has also detained onetime student leader and militant activist Charles Ble Goude, who served Gbagbo as righthand man during his turbulent rule, when the country was split in two after a 2002 rebellion.

Ble Goude is also suspected of crimes against humanity, like the notorious former first lady, Simone Gbagbo, whom the Ivorian authorities have refused to turn over to the international court.

The ICC is mulling whether the two trials should be joined as one.

© 2014 AFP

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