Gbagbo ICC file: fit for a president?

07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly presents his biggest catch so far: Laurent Gbagbo. The prosecutor is defiant: "leaders must understand that violence is no longer an option in retaining or gaining power." But as yet, there is no sign of a `presidential' case. The former history professor is the first former president to appear before the ICC. He makes his debut in courtroom number 1. He stares at the unknown characters dressed in dark blue robes, puts on a headset and shares a smile with supporters in the public gallery. Dressed in a black suit, white shirt and blue tie, Gbagbo now looks confident, while the world still remembers him standing undressed in his white under-shirt after his arrest in April. "I am not regretting being here and we will go on to the end," he tells the judges on Monday. He refuses to hear the charges against him. "I was president for ten years and I did not do that," he says, referring to the court's allegations.

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