ICC - 3 African leaders charged

2011-12-05 17:12

The Hague - Ex-Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, who is to appear for the first time on Monday before the International Criminal Court, is one of three current or former leaders charged by international courts of justice:

Laurent Gbagbo:

The former Ivorian strongman was transferred to the International Criminal Court on November 30 from a northern Ivorian jail cell to face four counts of crimes against humanity, committed in the aftermath of the west African country's presidential polls in November last year.

The 66-year-old, who was in power for more than a decade, is the first former head of state to be brought before the ICC. His refusal to give up power after losing the vote triggered a crisis the UN says left around 3 000 people dead.

Omar al-Bashir:

The International Criminal Court issued a first arrest warrant against the Sudanese president on March 4 2009 for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, torn apart by civil war since 2003. A second arrest warrant for genocide was issued on July 12 2010 over a war the UN says has killed 300 000. Khartoum says only 10 000 died.

The 67-year-old, who seized power in 1989, is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC, the only permanent international criminal tribunal to prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bashir is also the ICC's first suspect to face genocide charges.

Bashir has eluded the court despite travelling to several countries theoretically under obligation to arrest him.

Charles Taylor:

Liberia's Charles Taylor was indicted in March 2003 for crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) over his role in Sierra Leone's deadly civil war between 1991 and 2001 which left some 120 000 dead and thousands of others maimed.

The 63-year-old Taylor, who was president between 1997 and 2003, is accused of arming neighbouring Sierra Leone's rebels, who in turn paid him in blood diamonds.

He was moved from Freetown to The Hague for security reasons on June 30 2006, where his trial opened a year later and wrapped up on March 11. The prosecution presented 94 witnesses, the defence, 21 in the case. Taylor has pleaded not guilty and judgment was reserved.

The ICC had also issued an arrest warrant for late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for crimes against humanity committed in putting down the rebellion that erupted earlier this year. The ICC subsequently dropped the warrant after Gaddafi was murdered in Sirte on October 20.