April 6, 2018 / 12:13 AM / 8 months ago

Factbox: Zuma joins small club of African leaders in the dock

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Former South African president Jacob Zuma goes on trial on Friday for alleged corruption and fraud in a large government arms deal in the late 1990s, charges denied by the 75-year-old who was ousted by his party in February.

FILE PHOTO: South African President Jacob Zuma listens at a news conference in Cape Town, South Africa, June 14, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files/File Photo

The trial is a rarity on the African continent, where political leaders - particularly heads of state - are seldom called to account for alleged wrongdoing.

Below are some African leaders who have ended up in the dock:


Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre was sentenced in 2016 by a special international tribunal sitting in Senegal to life in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity during his 1982-1990 rule. A special tribunal upheld the life sentence last year.


Frederick Chiluba, Zambia’s first democratically elected president, was charged with stealing nearly $500,000 of public funds after standing down in 2002. He was acquitted of all charges in 2009 and died in 2011.


Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo was brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes allegedly committed during post-electoral violence in 2010 and 2011, when he refused to accept defeat by rival Alassane Ouattara.

The trial in the Hague began in 2016 and is ongoing.


Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is serving a 50-year jail term in a British prison for war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Taylor, a warlord who campaigned for election in 1997 on the slogan “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him”, was convicted in 2012 by the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone.


Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was summoned to the ICC to answer questions about his indictment on charges of orchestrating a wave of deadly post-election violence that swept Kenya in 2007 and 2008.

The ICC agreed to withdraw the charges against him in 2015.

Reporting by Alexander Winning, Editing by William Maclean

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