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International court rejects appeal by former Ivory Coast president

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone pictured in 2011.

Story highlights

  • The former Ivory Coast president is accused of crimes against humanity
  • The court says he is a flight risk
  • Laurent Gbagbo has been in detention since he surrendered last December

The International Criminal Court has rejected an appeal from former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo to be released from detention in the Netherlands while he awaits trial.

ICC judges said Friday that Gbagbo, who faces charges of crimes against humanity during the 2010 civil war in his country, posed a flight risk.

"In the case at hand, there can be no doubt that the charges that the prosecutor has brought against Mr. Gbagbo and for which the warrant of arrest against him was issued - crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as other inhumane acts and persecution - are serious and may lead to a lengthy sentence in case of conviction," Judge Anita Usacka wrote in the decision from The Hague.

Gbagbo has been detained in the court since he surrendered on December 5, 2011.

He had sought release "to allow him to recover from the ill-treatment he is said to have suffered while in detention in Cote d'Ivoire, in order to be fit to stand trial," the decision said, using the French name for Ivory Coast.