|"Laurent Gbagbo, former President of Ivory Coast, and his wife Simone are watched by republican forces in a hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Monday, April 11, 2011." (Aristide Bodegla/AP)|
By Mike Corder
Associated Press dispatch on Time.com, November 30, 2011
"The International Criminal Court charged former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo with murder, rape, persecution and inhuman acts Wednesday, crimes allegedly committed as his backers fought brutal battles to keep him in power last year. Gbagbo, 66, is the first former head of state taken into custody by the court since it was established in 2002, although prosecutors also have charged Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir with genocide and Libya's former leader, the late Moammar Gadhafi, with crimes against humanity. 'Mr. Gbagbo is brought to account for his individual responsibility in the attacks against civilians committed by forces acting on his behalf,' Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement. 'He is presumed innocent until proven guilty and will be given full rights and the opportunity to defend himself.' Moreno-Ocampo stressed that both sides of the political divide in Ivory Coast committed crimes in the post-election chaos and that his investigation was continuing. That statement appeared aimed at countering fears that Gbagbo's arrest could further stoke tension in Ivory Coast because it gives the appearance of victor's justice. Grave abuses were also committed by forces loyal to the country's democratically elected leader, Alassane Ouattara, who enlisted the help of a former rebel group to force Gbagbo from office. ...