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Thursday 17 April  

Gbagbo's lawyers ask ICC to postpone hearing

Published on 7 June 2012 - 9:21pm
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Former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo's lawyers asked the International Criminal Court Thursday to postpone a hearing on whether he can stand trial, citing a lack of financial resources.

Gbagbo, 67, is to appear before the tribunal in The Hague on June 18 for a hearing to confirm crimes against humanity charges for his role in violence that rocked the west African country after November 2010 elections.

In a document, Gbagbo's lawyer Emmanuel Altit asked the court to "order that the hearing to confirm charges be postponed" to an unspecified date.

The hearing to consider the charges against Gbagbo -- the first former head of state to appear before the court -- should enable the bench to consider if the prosecution's evidence is strong enough to merit a trial.

Altit, however, said his client's rights to a fair trial would be violated if the confirmation hearing took place as scheduled.

The lawyer said there was "no equality of arms" between his office and that of the prosecutor as there was a "gross disproportion" in financial and human resources.

His team faced hostile conditions when it went to the Ivory Coast to investigate the case, Altit added.

"The financial resources between the two parties are, to say the least, unbalanced," Altit said.

Post-poll violence broke out when Gbagbo, who turned 67 last week, refused to step down in favour of his long-time rival and current President Alassane Ouattara, who was declared winner after the 2010 polls.

Five months of unrest followed before Gbagbo was arrested in his heavily fortified home in April last year by forces loyal to Ouattara, with UN and French military backing.

He was transferred to the ICC's detention unit in The Hague on November 30 and currently face four counts of crimes against humanity.

© ANP/AFP
  • Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International ...
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