By SONJA DECHIAN
Former Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) President Laurent Gbagbo appeared at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, to face charges of crimes against humanity.
The hearing lasted less than half an hour, and was to confirm Gbagbo’s identity and ensure he understood the charges. Gbagbo said he didn’t need them to read the charges, but wanted to challenge the evidence against him.
The court scheduled a hearing for June 18, when the prosecutor must show there is enough evidence to go to trial.
Gbagbo is the first former head of state to face the ICC and some critics have claimed the court is too focused on alleged crimes in Africa. Gbagbo’s adviser told reporters in The Hague, ‘It’s a neocolonialist trial. The (ICC) has become an instrument of France … to empower friends and punish the ones who don’t follow along.’ The ICC has launched seven investigations, all in Africa.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo spoke with Al Jazeera about the court, its focus and impartiality.