Gbagbo to remain behind bars

2013-11-11 19:28
Laurent Gbagbo (Picture: AP)

Laurent Gbagbo (Picture: AP)

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The Hague - Former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo must remain behind bars in The Hague pending his possible trial for crimes against humanity, the International Criminal Court ruled on Monday.

"Despite the improved security situation in the Ivory Coast, detention is still necessary to ensure Mr Gbagbo's appearance before the court," the ICC said in a statement.

Detention is also necessary "to ensure that he does not obstruct or endanger the investigation or the court proceedings", it added.

The latest order follows a standard quarterly review of Gbagbo's incarceration at the ICC's detention unit, situated in a seaside suburb of The Hague.

Gbagbo's lawyers previously asked that he be conditionally freed because of poor health.

The ICC's judges on Monday ordered a report to be submitted by 2 December on what steps the ICC's registry had taken to address Gbagbo's health concerns.

"Once the process is complete, the Chamber will assess the possibility of granting conditional release," it said.

The ICC has yet to confirm the charges against Gbagbo for his role in the bloody election standoff three years ago.

Gbagbo, 68, is accused of fomenting a wave of violence that swept the west African nation after he refused to concede defeat in the November 2010 poll.

Five months of fighting followed, ravaging the world's top cocoa producer and claiming some 3 000 lives, according to the United Nations, many of them perceived supporters of election winner and current Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo was captured in April 2011 when Ouattara's forces, with French and UN backing, overran his heavily fortified compound in the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan.

He was transferred into the custody of the ICC - which had issued an arrest warrant against him - some seven months later and has been held here for almost two years.

Gbagbo, who has accused former colonial power France of being behind a political plot to oust him, denies the charges.

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