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War crimes court postpones Gbagbo hearing to August

By Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 12:05 AM EDT, Sat June 16, 2012
Former Ivory Coast president, Laurent Gbagbo, is facing charges of crimes against humanity.
Former Ivory Coast president, Laurent Gbagbo, is facing charges of crimes against humanity.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The ex-president of Ivory Coast is facing charges of crimes against humanity
  • The hearing determines whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial
  • Laurent Gbagbo is accused of the crimes after he rejected presidential poll results in 2010
  • His refusal to step down sparked months of protests

(CNN) -- The International Criminal Court postponed a key hearing in the case against Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivory Coast president who is facing charges of crimes against humanity.

A confirmation of charges hearing originally planned for Monday is rescheduled to August 13, the court said in a statement. His lawyers asked for a delay to give them more time to prepare for an effective defense.

The hearing is to allow judges to hear arguments from both sides to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

Gbagbo is accused of crimes against humanity after he rejected election results and refused to step down when current president, Alassane Ouattara, was declared the winner in the 2010 poll. The standoff sparked months of violence between supporters of both sides, leaving thousands dead.

Rebuilding Ivory Coast's cocoa trade

The former leader is accused of the crimes for actions committed by forces loyal to him during the standoff. He says he is not guilty.

"Mr Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts," the international court said in a statement last year.

It said the alleged crimes occurred between December 2010 and April 2011.

Authorities arrested Gbagbo in April last year, ending the standoff. In November, he was flown to The Hague, Netherlands, where the court is based.

Rights group have said forces loyal to both leaders committed crimes during the standoff.

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