Gbagbo advisor slams ICC court appearance

December 5, 2011 9:27 am


People check local newspapers bearing pictures Gbagbo/AFP
THE HAGUE, Dec 5 – Ex-Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo’s appearance before the International Criminal Court is a judicial error and a plot to remove him from politics, his advisor said on Monday.

“The presence of president Laurent Gbagbo in the dock is clearly a judicial error, a swindle, a move to liquidate him politically, socially and physically,” Toussaint Alain said in The Hague.

“We denounce the bias of this senseless procedure, masquerading as justice, which led to the illegal transfer and imprisonment of president Gbagbo,” Toussaint added in a statement sent to AFP.

The former Ivorian strongman is to face world war crimes court judges later on Monday for the first time after his transfer to The Netherlands from a northern Ivory Coast jail cell last Wednesday.

When he makes his brief initial appearance at 2pm (1300 GMT), judges will verify his identity, read the allegations against him and his rights under the court’s founding document, the Rome Statute.

Gbagbo, 66, is the first ex-president to be brought before the Hague-based court, where he faces four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, over violence after last year’s November 28 polls which the United Nations says left some 3,000 people dead.

The court issued a sealed arrest warrant against him on November 23 for his part in the post-poll crisis, sparked by his refusal to step down in favour of his long-time opponent, now Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.

His transfer to the ICC 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.


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