Gbagbo tells ICC he fought for democracy
01 March 2013, 12:21
The Hague - Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo on
Thursday told the International Criminal Court which is weighing whether to
charge him with crimes against humanity that he had always been pro-democracy.
"All my life, I fought for democracy," Gbagbo told
the court that will decide whether to charge him over 2010-2011 post-election
violence in the west African nation that claimed over 3 000 lives.
Gbagbo, 67, is the first former head of state brought before
the ICC, where he is accused of masterminding a campaign of violence during the
presidential vote standoff in the world's largest cocoa producer.
Gbagbo, speaking for the first time in court since December
2011, denied charges of nepotism.
"I don't govern with my family," Gbagbo told the
"I was president, head of state, and my wife was an
MP," he said of second wife Simone, who is being held in Ivory Coast
despite the ICC having also issued a warrant for her arrest.
Gbagbo maintains that he was evicted in favour of his rival,
current President Alassane Ouattara, thanks to a plot led by former colonial
He faces four counts of crimes against humanity for
allegedly fomenting the wave of violence as he refused to hand over to election
winner Ouattara after 10 years in power. He has denied the charges against him.
Prosecutors and the defence have spent just over a week
arguing their cases before a three-judge bench, which has 60 days from Thursday
to decide if there are "substantial grounds to believe that Gbagbo
committed the crimes" and should be charged.