The Hague: Ivory Coast`s ex-president
Laurent Gbagbo was remanded to the custody of the
International Criminal Court today to face charges over post
election violence that killed some 3,000 people.
"He is here," a source close to the investigation, who
asked to remain anonymous, said shortly after the former
west African president arrived at the ICC`s detention unit in
a seaside suburb of The Hague.
The 66-year-old is the first former head of state to be
surrendered to The Hague-based body. He found out he would be
transferred to the court only on Tuesday as he was served an
ICC arrest warrant, one of the lawyers in Ivory Coast, Jean
A plane carrying the former president landed at Rotterdam
airport a little before 0830 IST, the ANP news agency
reported. From there, he was taken to the detention facility,
about 20 kilometres away.
Ivory Coast`s new rulers had been pressing for weeks to
have Gbagbo transferred to The Hague and the move comes less
than two weeks before the December 11 legislative elections in
the former French colony.
ICC spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah said yesterday that
the court could not comment on the Gbagbo`s case until the
judges make their decision public.
Gbagbo was flown out of the country in a plane chartered
by the Ivorian authorities.
For months, since his arrest in Abidjan on April 11, he
had been held in Korhogo, in the north of the country, as
Ivorian investigators built a case against him.
At home, Gbagbo faced charges for "economic crimes"
allegedly committed during the political crisis and conflict
triggered by his refusal to hand over power, which sparked the
deadly post-election conflict.
But the ICC had launched its own investigation.
Last month, its judges allowed prosecutor Luis
Moreno-Ocampo to probe alleged post-election war crimes and
crimes against humanity committed by both forces loyal to
Gbagbo and also to those loyal to new Ivorian President
Human Rights Watch, while welcoming news of Gbagbo`s
transfer to the ICC, made it clear that the forces loyal to
Ouattara also had to answer for alleged atrocities committed
during the conflict.
"The ICC is playing its part to show that even those at
the highest levels of power cannot escape justice when
implicated in grave crimes," said Elise Keppler, HRW`s senior
international justice counsel in a statement.