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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid