Gbagbo fit for trial - ICC

2012-11-02 22:41
Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. (AFP)

Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. (AFP)

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The Hague - Ivory Coast ex-president Laurent Gbagbo is well enough to be tried for crimes against humanity but his health condition may require special measures, the International Criminal Court said Friday.

Gbagbo is "fit to take part in the proceedings before the court", the Hague-based court said in a statement, adding that judges would now set a date for a much-delayed confirmation of charges hearing.

Gbagbo faces four counts of crimes against humanity - murder, persecution, rape and other sexual violence, and other inhumane acts - stemming from violence after he lost presidential elections in Ivory Coast in November 2010.

The ICC in June appointed three doctors to assess Gbagbo's health, at the request of his lawyers who said he was tortured during his detention last year by forces loyal to bitter rival and current President Alassane Ouattara.

Special measures

Judges avoided making any detailed assessment of Gbagbo's health but said that special measures could be taken ahead of and during his trial.

They include "shorter court sessions, the provision of appropriate facilities to rest during breaks, the possibility for the suspect to excuse himself from all or part of the proceedings and to follow them via video link if he so wishes".

The former president, who first came to power in October 2000, refused to acknowledge an election loss to Ouattara, a decision that plunged the country into its second armed conflict in a decade.

Holed up in the commercial capital Abidjan, Gbagbo was eventually ousted in April 2011, following two weeks of fierce street fighting that is estimated to have cost 3 000 lives in the west African country.

He was then moved to Korhogo in the north of the country, until he was transferred to ICC custody seven months later on the strength of an international arrest warrant.

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