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).

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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs