The Hague, February 24, 2012 (FH) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided to expand its authorization for the investigation in Côte d'Ivoire to include crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed between September 19, 2002 and November 28, 2010, according to a press statement issued on Thursday.

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In October 2011, judges had authorized Luis Moreno Ocampo to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since November 2010 on both sides. They had also requested more information about crimes allegedly committed since September 19, 2002, the day of a coup attempt perpetrated by rebels forces which led to a civil war.

"Concentrating on the most significant of the samples of incidents, the Chamber concluded that there is reasonable basis to believe that, in the course of these events, acts of murder and rape that could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity were committed" by both sides, the statement reads.

 The UN estimates that more than 3,000 people were killed in violence that broke out when Laurent Gabgbo refused to accept the victory of the internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo was arrested on April 11, 2011, by Ouattara forces assisted by the French and transferred to custody of The Hague based court on November 30, 2011.

The first head of state to be tried by the ICC made his initial appearance on December 5, 2011 when he was informed of charges of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts allegedly committed in his country between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.     

Confirmation of charges hearing has been set up for June 18, 2012.


© Hirondelle News Agency