February 19, 2013
ICC Weighs Sending Gbagbo Case to Trial
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a hearing to decide if there is enough evidence to try Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Ivory Coast, on charges of crimes against humanity.
Gbagbo was present as the hearing got underway Tuesday in The Hague.
Gbagbo faces four counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in violence that followed his defeat in Ivory Coast's 2010 presidential election.
The violence erupted when he refused to leave office after losing a runoff vote to current President Alassane Ouattara. More than 3,000 people died and more than one million were displaced as pro-Gbagbo forces battled Ouattara supporters.
The former president insists he is innocent.
Several-hundred Gbagbo supporters protested outside of the court as the session got underway.
Gbagbo was captured in Abidjan in 2011 with the help of French forces, and was extradited to the Hague.
The hearing is taking place just days after Ivory Coast became the 122nd state to ratify the statute that established the International Criminal Court.
France welcomed Ivory Coast's decision to become part of the ICC, saying it confirmed a commitment to "fight against impunity."
The ICC has also indicted Gbagbo's wife, Simone Gbagbo, for crimes against humanity.