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ICC rejects ex-Ivory Coast president's jurisdiction challenge

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] on Monday dismissed a challenge by former Ivory Coast president and alleged war criminal Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] that the court lacks jurisdiction to try him. Gbagbo is being charged with crimes against humanity relating to violence following the 2010 elections in which Gbagbo lost but refused to cede power. Specifically, the ICC is charging Gbagbo [materials] with murder, rape, persecution and "other inhumane acts" related to post-election violence. Gbagbo contended [AP report] that the ICC does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate his case because he was mistreated while being detained in Ivory Coast for several months. The ICC dismissed Gbagbo's jurisdictional challenge, holding that it has the authority to hear his case. Gbagbo was extradited to the ICC in November.

Gbagbo has been the subject of legal controversy both in the Ivory Coast and abroad. Two weeks ago Ivory Coast's commission of inquiry into the country's 2010 post-election violence [JURIST news archive] submitted a report [JURIST report] to President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] revealing that hundreds of fighters on both sides of the hostilities committed war crimes and human rights violations. Earlier in August the ICC delayed a hearing [JURIST report] against Gbagbo until he is physically fit to stand trial. In July Ivory Coast's justice ministry announced that it would charge two allies [JURIST report] of Gbagbo with genocide for their roles in the 2010 post-election violence.

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