The Hague, February 3, 2012 (FH) - Laurent Gbagbo's lawyer requested supplementary means to defend the former President of Côte d'Ivoire in a letter to the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on February 1st.

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"The case is particularly difficult and complex, and the remaining workload is considerable", Emmanuel Altit argued.

On December 28, Gbagbo was granted legal aid. Despite investigations undertaken since his transfer from Côte d'Ivoire at the end of November, the financial investigator appointed by the ICC has found no trace of assets attributable to the former president.

"A preliminary review (...) suggests, a priori, that the applicant does not have sufficient resources to support all or part of the costs of legal representation in court," stated the Registry, adding: "Legal aid is granted on a provisional basis".

ICC has committed to paying the salary of a lawyer, of a legal assistant, of a case manager and the reimbursement of expenses up to 76,000 Euros incurred by the defence.

These financial commitments were made so as to prepare the confirmation of charges hearing, which is slated for June 18 to 28, 2012.

In his request, French counsel Altit ask for another co-counsel and two judicial assistants to also be paid by the Registry. He further demands an allowance of 290,000 Euros to pursue his investigations, an amount which would include the remuneration of two investigators. In addition, he seeks to obtain a second office in The Hague "with a safe", plus 7,000 Euros for translations and 8,000 Euros for the purchase of four laptops.

Since the creation of the ICC in 2002, a majority of defendants received legal aid, except for Jean-Pierre Bemba and five out of six Kenyans implicated in the post-electoral violence which occurred in 2007-2008.

Laurent Gbagbo is held in The Hague as part of an investigation into "crimes against humanity" committed during the 2010 post-electoral violence in Côte d'Ivoire.


© Hirondelle News Agency