The Hague — On 2 November 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided that Mr Laurent Gbagbo was fit to take part in the proceedings before the Court. The judges will soon set a date for the confirmation of charges hearing in the case.
According to the judges' decision, practical adjustments will need to be made in order to enable him to participate at the confirmation of charges hearing. These may include shorter court sessions, the provision of appropriate facilities to rest during breaks, the possibility for the suspect to excuse himself from all or part of the proceedings and to follow them via video link if he so wishes. The Chamber will determine the appropriate arrangements for the conduct of the hearings in consultation with the Defence and the Registry.
According to the arrest warrant issued against him, Laurent Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity: a) murder, b) rape and other sexual violence, c) persecution and d) other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the context of the post-electoral violence in the territory of Côte d'Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. He was surrendered to the ICC on 30 November 2011 and he appeared before the Pre-Trial Chamber on 5 December 2011.
On 26 June 2012, the Chamber appointed three experts to assist in determining whether Mr Gbagbo was capable of meaningfully exercising his rights in the proceedings against him before the Court. The order to conduct a medical examination followed a filing of the Defence arguing, among other things, that the confirmation of charges hearing – initially scheduled for 13 August 2012 – should be postponed because Mr Gbagbo's state of health made him unfit to take part in proceedings. On 2 August 2012, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I postponed the confirmation of charges hearing until the issue of Mr Gbagbo's fitness to take part in the hearing was resolved.
The confidential medical reports were filed on 19 July 2012. A hearing was subsequently held in closed session on this issue on 24 and 25 September 2012 in the presence of Mr Gbagbo, his Defence, the Prosecutor, representatives of the Registry and the experts appointed by the Chamber.
The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.