Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Tuesday to determine whether the case against him will proceed to trial. Gbagbo's lawyers urged the court to rule that the ICC does not have jurisdiction, and that Gbagbo should be tried by the Ivory Coast authorities currently conducting their own investigation. Gbagbo has been accused of crimes against humanity [AP report] including murder, rape and persecution. Currently scheduled to testify [Reuters report] late next week, Gbagbo will be asked to speak to his involvement in the post-2010 election civil war that resulted in the death of approximately 3,000 people. Gbagbo is the first former head of state to be tried by the ICC.
In December the Appeals Chamber of the ICC dismissed a challenge by Gbagbo [JURIST report] that alleged the court lacks jurisdiction over him. In November the ICC unsealed an indictment [JURIST report] for Gbagbo's wife, Simone, marking the first time that the court has charged a female. In October the ICC denied Gbagbo's motion asking the court for allowance to leave the Netherlands while he recovers from alleged maltreatment received while detained by national authorities in the Ivory Coast before being surrendered to the ICC in November [JURIST reports]. The court denied Gbagbo's leave request upon a determination that he posed a flight risk. The violence that followed the 2010 election displaced millions of people from their homes in addition to the thousands of lives lost. Gbagbo's rival Alassane Ouattara [JURIST news archive] was declared the winner of the 2010 election and is now president.