Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo will be the first ex-head of state on Thursday 28th January 2016 to stand trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for triggering political turmoil that left at least 3000 people dead.
He stands accused of triggering political unrest after disputed elections in November 2010 which he refused to stand down after losing to Alassane Ouattara.
After the November 2010 elections in Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo lost to his main rival Alassane Ouattara who was internationally recognized as the legitimate president but Gbagbo refused to set down creating weeks of tension and violence that led to the death of at least 3000 people.
Gbagbo was arrested a five-month standoff after which he was arrested by troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara backed by UN and French forces from the fortified presidential palace. In 2015, his wife was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in the bloody elections aftermath; she also stands charges at the ICC but Ivory Coast refused to hand her over.
Gbagbo and his most trusted ally Charles Ble Goude face four charges of crimes against humanity, devising and implementing the designated presidential reign orchestrated through brutal murders and rape at the ICC in Hague.
He is accused of using the police, army and a militia group called Young Patriots to remain in power and conduct the killings. The two have maintained their innocence with both through their defense lawyers vowing to unmask the ‘truth’ behind the 2010 election aftermath.
The hearing which is slated to start Thursday o830 GMT, the prosecution is expected to 5,300 elements of proof with video evidence and 138 potential witnesses in a trial expected to take approximately 3-4 years