ICC says to rule on Gbagbo's fitness

2012-09-12 19:33
Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. (File, AFP)

Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. (File, AFP)

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The Hague - The International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Wednesday it will hold a hearing to decide whether fallen Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo is well enough to face charges of crimes against humanity.

The closed-door hearing at The Hague-based court on September 24 and 25 will "discuss issues related to Mr Gbagbo's fitness to take part in the proceedings against him", judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi said in a statement.

Former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo obtained approval from judges in October last year to probe crimes committed in the world's largest cocoa producer during the violence that broke out after 2010 elections.

Post-poll fighting broke out when Gbagbo refused to step down in favour of his long-time rival and current President Alassane Ouattara, declared the election's winner, plunging the country into deadly crisis.

The UN said some 3 000 people died in the violence.

Five months of unrest followed before Gbagbo was eventually arrested after forces loyal to Ouattara stormed his heavily fortified home with French and UN military backing.

The first former head of state to be surrendered to the ICC, Gbagbo was imprisoned in The Hague in November after being transferred by plane from northern Ivory Coast, where he had been under house arrest since April 2011.

A report on Gbagbo's health requested by the defence was handed to the court on 19 July.

A 3 August hearing to confirm the charges against Gbago, 67, was postponed so that the defence and the prosecution could submit their observations on the health report.

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