ICC Takes Custody of Gbagbo

Former Ivory Coast president charged today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2011 8:35 AM CST
Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo left, speaks, during a press conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki unseen, in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, March. 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

(Newser) – More than seven months after his arrest, Laurent Gbagbo has become the first former head of state to be taken into custody by the International Criminal Court. The former Ivory Coast president was today charged with murder, rape, persecution, and inhuman acts, the AP reports. "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.

Gbagbo's forces allegedly committed the crimes while attempting to keep him in power after he lost last year's election, but Moreno-Ocampo says that forces of Alassane Ouattara, who won the election, also committed crimes, and his office continues to investigate. Explains a Human Rights Watch rep, "This created the perception of victor's justice. And if the cycle of violence in Cote d'Ivoire is to stop, there has to be justice that is even-handed and justice for the victims on both sides." (Read more Laurent Gbagbo stories.)

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