Ex-Ivorian chief faces ICC hearing

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands are setting out evidence they say proves that former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo is guilty of crimes including murder, rape and persecution in the violent aftermath of his country’s disputed 2010 presidential election.

Gbagbo became the first former head of state to be taken into custody at the permanent war crimes court in The Hague when he was extradited in November 2011 to face four counts of crimes against humanity. He insists he is innocent.

The hearing, due to begin at 1330 GMT today and scheduled to last until February 28, is not a trial. Prosecutors will present a summary of their evidence and judges must decide whether it is strong enough to merit a trial.

Gbagbo’s lawyers are expected to argue that the case should not be heard at the ICC.

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