Laurent Gbagbo to face ICC judges
The Hague - Former Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbagbo will appear before International Criminal Court judges for the first time on Monday over his role in the deadly aftermath of last year's polls.
Gbagbo, the first ex-president to be brought before the Hague-based court, will face four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, over violence the UN says left some 3 000 people dead.
His transfer to the ICC last week drew a furious reaction from his supporters and set a tense backdrop for December 11 polls that had been billed as a chance to foster reconciliation in the war-weary country.
When he makes his brief initial appearance Monday at 13:00 GMT, judges will verify Gbagbo's identity, read the alleged crimes and his rights under the court's founding document, the Rome Statute.
Presiding Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi will also set a date for a hearing to confirm charges against Gbagbo, who refused to accept defeat in a November 2010 presidential run-off after a decade at the helm of cocoa-rich Ivory Coast.
At that next hearing, not expected for several months, prosecutors must convince the court's judges they have enough evidence to take him to trial.
Facing four counts - namely murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts committed by forces loyal to him between 16 December 2010 and 12 April - Gbagbo, 66, is now behind bars at the ICC's detention unit in a Hague suburb.