/ 7 January 2012

Laurent Gbagbo to receive ICC legal aid

Laurent Gbagbo To Receive Icc Legal Aid

Côte d’Ivoire’s former president Laurent Gbagbo will get legal aid while his financial status is assessed, the International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Saturday.

His defence costs to date will be covered by the ICC’s legal aid, according to a statement from the court’s clerk, after his defence team said they had no resources with which to conduct his defence.

During a hearing on December 14, lawyer Emmanuel Altit, for Gbagbo, told the court that they did not have the means to do their job.

“At this moment, we … have no office, no computer, no access to the Court’s computer system, no funding,” he said.

To be reassessed
The financial aid granted by the court will, however, only cover the preliminary stages of the case pending an investigation into Gbagbo’s financial status, after which it would be reassessed, the clerk’s statement said.

Gbagbo (66) became the first former head of state to be surrendered to the ICC in November 2011 when he was transferred there by plane from northern Côte d’Ivoire, where he had been under house arrest since April.

He faces four counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in crimes committed during five months of post-presidential election violence after the disputed November 2010 polls.

His refusal to hand over the reins to his long-time opponent and now President Alassane Ouattara plunged the world’s top cocoa-grower into a deadly crisis which the United Nations said claimed around 3 000 lives. — Sapa-AFP