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Gbagbo appears in ICC court for initial hearing

(Xinhua)

13:51, December 06, 2011

THE HAGUE, Dec. 5(Xinhua)-- Laurent Koudou Gbagbo, former president of Cote d'Ivoire, complained about the circumstances of his arrest when appearing in court on Monday for his first initial hearing at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

"My arrest conditions were not so correct," Gbagbo said. "I was the president of the republic and I was arrested in my destroyed residence by the French army. There were fighting in the chambers, 50 French tanks surrounded the building, while helicopters threw bombs."

The 66-year-old former president allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as an indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, committed in post-electoral violence in Cote d'Ivoire between Dec. 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011.

He was transferred to the ICC's detention unit in The Hague on Nov. 30, following his arrest warrant on Nov. 23. He is the first former head of state tried at the ICC since the tribunal was founded in 2002.

Gbagbo said French forces handed him over to the headquarters of his opponent Alassane Ouattara, current president of Cote d'Ivoire, and he was then taken in custody.

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