Ivory Coast's Gbagbo gets day in court

2011-12-05 16:16

The Hague - Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo has appeared at the International Criminal Court, the first former head of state to face judges at the world's first permanent war crimes court.

Gbagbo was calm and smiled at supporters in the public gallery as the 25-minute hearing opened Monday. He told judges he did not need them to read the charges against him.

Gbagbo was extradited to the Netherlands last week to face charges including murder and rape committed by supporters as he attempted to cling to power. Prosecutors say about 3 000 people died in violence by both sides after Gbagbo refused to concede electoral defeat.

President Alassane Ouattara took power in April with the help of French and UN forces.

During the former president's brief hearing before the court, based in The Hague, judges decided that he must reappear on June 18 for a confirmation of charges hearing when he will learn whether he must stand trial.

- AP
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