Despite mental health concerns, the International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled that former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo is fit to stand trial.
The 67-year-old will face charges of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, as a result of violence that took place in the wake of Ivory Coast's disputed 2012 presidential elections. An estimated 3,000 people were killed in 2012’s post-election violence after Gbagbo refused to cede power to the internationally recognized President-elect Alassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo arrived at the Hague last December after the former leader reported that he had fallen ill after being kept in a windowless room. Doctors who examined Gbagbo reported that he seemed to be a “shadow of his former self” and showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
However, despite the diagnoses months ago, judges determined that Gbagbo was able to understand the charges against him and is therefore fit to stand trial. The court did announce that “practical adjustments” will be made to accommodate Gbagbo at his confirmation of charges hearing. The proposed adjustments include shorter court sessions, a place to rest during breaks and, possibly, the option to follow the proceedings via video.
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(Photo: EPA/NIC BOTHMA /LANDOV)