THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Appeal judges at the International Criminal Court on Friday turned down former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo’s request to be allowed to leave the Netherlands to await trial, saying he posed a flight risk.
ICC prosecutors say Gbagbo committed crimes against humanity during a four-month civil war in Ivory Coast in 2010, in which about 3,000 people died and a million were displaced.
“There can be no doubt the charges he faces, including crimes against humanity, rape, murder and other forms of sexual violence, are serious and may result in a lengthy prison sentence if he is convicted,” Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, the presiding judge, told the court.
Gbagbo had asked the court for permission to go abroad to recover from ill-treatment he said he had received when he was in detention in Ivory Coast.
The conflict in Ivory Coast started because Gbagbo refused to stand down after losing the 2010 presidential election to rival Alassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo was captured by fighters backing Ouattara during the final battle for Abidjan and was later arrested and flown to The Hague to appear before the ICC. He is awaiting a decision on whether he will be tried.
Earlier this month, a U.N. panel found Gbagbo’s supporters had established a base in neighboring Ghana from where they were working to destabilize the Ivorian government.
Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Janet Lawrence