News / Africa

Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Before International Court

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, Abidjan, Nov. 2003 (file photo).
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, Abidjan, Nov. 2003 (file photo).
TEXT SIZE - +

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has made his first appearance before the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity stemming from his alleged role in deadly post-election violence.

Gbagbo is the first former head of state to be brought to the ICC since its inception in 2002.  He was read his rights during Monday's hearing at The Hague but declined to hear the charges against him.

The former president, wearing a dark suit, answered questions from judges and spoke about his arrest and transfer to the court during the 20-minute hearing.

He said French troops arrested him at the presidential residence in Abidjan in April and then handed him over to the forces of current Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.

He also said his transfer to The Hague last week was preceded by a surprise judicial hearing for which he and his lawyers were unprepared.

The ICC's chief prosecutor,  Luis Moreno-Ocampo says Gbagbo was an indirect perpetrator of murder, rape and other crimes committed during four months of clashes in Ivory Coast.  

"The ICC is changing how the world manages violence," he said. "In the past, if you were head of state, you could commit massive atrocities and nothing would happen to you. Eventually, you would be a golden exile. This era is gone."

About 3,000 people were killed and more than a million displaced after Gbagbo refused to cede power to Ouattara, who defeated him in the November 2010 election.

As president, Gbagbo was able to mobilize sometimes violent mobs several thousand strong.  The court says there are "reasonable grounds" to believe pro-Gbagbo forces attacked civilians thought to have supported Mr. Ouattara.

The court scheduled Gbagbo's next hearing for June 18, when prosecutors must convince judges they have enough evidence to bring Gbagbo to trial.

Chief ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says investigations into the Ivory Coast violence continue, and charges against others are expected.  He has previously said there is evidence that both Ouattara and Gbagbo supporters committed war crimes.  

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

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid