ICC puts off Gbagbo hearing over health fears

The International Criminal Court (ICC) said Friday it had postponed an August 13 hearing for former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo after defence lawyers questioned his fitness to stand trial.

Doctors could examine Gbagbo, 67, who faces charges of crimes against humanity, to determine if "he is fit to take part in the proceedings against him," the court said.

At the request of defence lawyers they had appointed three doctors to assess Gbagbo, who had filed confidential medical reports last month, a statement from the court said.

The court was now awaiting the response of both the prosecution and the defence lawyers. The Ivorian former leader has been detained at the seat of the ICC in The Hague since November last year.

In a decision taken on Thursday, the pre-trial chamber "ordered the prosecutor and the defence to submit their observations on (medical) reports, respectively, by 13 and 21 August," the statement said.

"In light of the importance of the issue, the Chamber decided to postpone the confirmation of charges hearing until such issue is resolved," added the statement.

Gbagbo faces four counts of crimes against humanity -- murder, persecution, rape and other sexual violence, and other inhumane acts -- stemming from violence after he lost presidential elections in Ivory Coast in November 2010.

The former president, who first came to power in October 2000, refused to acknowledge an election loss to long-standing rival Alassane Ouattara, a decision that plunged the country into its second armed conflict in a decade.

Holed up in the commercial capital Abidjan, Gbagbo was eventually ousted in April 2011, following two weeks of fierce street fighting that is estimated to have cost 3,000 lives in the west African country.

On April 11 last year, the captured Gbagbo was moved to Korhogo in the north of the country, until he was transferred to ICC custody seven months later on the strength of an international arrest warrant.

Defence counsel have repeatedly claimed that Gbagbo was "tortured" during his detention in Korhogo and say he needs to recover physically and psychologically.

Gbagbo clung to power after a failed coup against him in 2002, which led to the division of the cocoa-rich country into a rebel-held north and a south controlled by loyalist troops.

Despite a series of peace accords underwritten by the United Nations, he repeatedly put off the elections.

The ICC prosecutor is also investigating crimes that may have been committed by former rebels loyal to Ouattara.

The current president, a northerner, was able to take office after decisive military support from the UN operation in Ivory Coast and a French military force stationed there, known as Unicorn.

But rights activists say the former rebels are heavily implicated in killings that claimed hundreds of lives in west Ivory Coast at the end of March 2011, before their offensive on Gbagbo's stronghold in Abidjan.

The ICC last month rejected a defence request that the former president be released pending his trial, saying he posed too much of a flight risk.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes
    ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes

    The Yolanda-inspired film “Taklub” has won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The advocacy film, which had a successful premiere last Tuesday under the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, is directed by 2009 Cannes best director Brillante Mendoza and top-billed by Nora Aunor. The award cited the film’s sensitive portrayal of individuals and communities in the Philippines fighting to continue living despite natural disasters exposing them to suffering and death. …

  • Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam
    Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam

    A 21-year-old orphan from Capiz topped the chemical engineering board examinations held this month. Remington Salaya, a cum laude graduate of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo, ranked first in the board examinations with a score of 83.30 percent. Out of 405 chemical engineering graduates who took the exam in mid-May, 239 passed. …

  • A sunset party for APEC delegates
    A sunset party for APEC delegates

    Greeted by the beat of Ati-atihan drummers, delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers meeting enjoyed a welcome dinner and cultural presentation at sunset yesterday. Dubbed FuntaSea, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s Banyugan Beach was transformed into a fantasy island, complete with mermaids, fire dancers, and choreographed paraws (sailboat) representing the best of Boracay. With APEC meetings being held all over the Philippines, each presentation is conceptualized …

  • UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute
    UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China’s increased assertiveness has alarmed its smaller neighbors. In Manila, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. appealed to China to respect various international agreements on freedom of navigation and aviation. Coloma’s call came in the wake of an incident Wednesday where Chinese naval forces warned a US …

  • Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center
    Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center

    Philippine Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Elizabeth Buensuceso has called on participants of the ASEAN-China Center (ACC) brainstorming session to vigorously work on promoting ASEAN-China relations under the principles of inclusivity, transparency and centrality. The brainstorming session, attended by the ACC’s joint council and joint executive board members, also involved a midterm review of ACC’s work since its establishment in 2011. The ACC aims to promote …

  • Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation
    Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation

    Distressed Filipino domestic helpers in Lebanon may find it more difficult to return home. The government of Lebanon has tightened the rules on repatriation of distressed household service workers (HSWs), Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz reported yesterday. Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Baldoz said the Lebanese government opted to re-impose a previous policy requiring investigation into every case of HSWs who ran away from their employers and sought …

  • Army execs face attrition over promotion quota
    Army execs face attrition over promotion quota

    Dozens of Philippine Army officials may be removed from the service due to a promotion quota system in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, according to AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang. In a letter to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, he requested that the 30 percent promotion quota – which means that only 30 percent of those eligible for promotion in a given year will actually be promoted – in the Army be raised to 50 percent. Under the military’s attrition law, middle-grade officers …

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options