- Posted February 20, 2013 by
Laurent Gbagbo in Hague court over poll violence
Gbagbo is accused of facilitating a civil war in the Ivory Coast, preferring this course of action to relinquishing his power in the country.
A string of high-profile cases have collapsed in recent years and this is the latest attempt to pin him to the alleged crimes.
The hearing is crucial for the Court's own prosecutors, who are seeking to convince judges that Gbagbo has a case to answer after the recent string of collapsed cases.
They must prove that Gbagbo ordered his forces to commit murders, rapes and other human rights during violence in which some 3,000 people died in a civil war that forced a million people from their homes.
Gbagbo claims that he was leading government resistance against Ouattara's foreign-backed northern rebellion. Ouattara saw himself as the champion of excluded northerners who suffered under Gbagbo's southern government. The conflict came to an end only after Gbagbo was arrested by forces loyal to Ouattara, with the help of French troops, prompting Gbagbo's supporters to argue that he is the victim of post-colonial meddling.
Scores of protestors have been standing outside the International Criminal Court calling for the charges against Gbagbo to be dropped; Dutch police on horseback were forced to hold back around 300 protestors claiming that “he is not a dictator” and that “Gbagbo loves his people”.