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ICC puts off hearing for Gbagbo to resolve health issue

(FILES) This picture taken on December 5, 2011 in The Hague shows former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo appearing before the International Criminal Court for the first time for his role in the deadly aftermath of presidential polls last year. International Court postpones charges hearing for Gbagbo on August 3, 2012. AFP PHOTO /ANP POOL/ PETER DE JONG

THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court (ICC) said Friday it had postponed an August 13 hearing for former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo after defence lawyers questioned his fitness to stand trial.

Doctors could examine Gbagbo, who faces charges of crimes against humanity, to determine if "he is fit to take part in the proceedings against him," the court said.

At the request of defence lawyers they had appointed three doctors to assess Gbagbo, who had filed confidential medical reports last month, a statement from the court said.

The court was now awaiting the response of both the prosecution and the defence lawyers.

"In light of the importance of the issue, the Chamber decided to postpone the confirmation of charges hearing until such issue is resolved," said the court statement.

The ICC last month rejected a defence request that the 67-year-old former president be released pending his trial, saying that he posed too much of a flight risk.

Gbagbo faces four counts of crimes against humanity -- murder, persecution, rape and other sexual violence, and other inhumane acts -- stemming from election violence after he lost presidential elections in Ivory Coast in November 2010.

 

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