The devious manoeuvres behind ex-Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo's trial at ICC

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In April 2011, former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo who refused to recognise his defeat in elections five months earlier, was captured with French help by militiamen acting for his rival, Alassane Ouattara, the country’s current leader. A confidential French foreign ministry document obtained by Mediapart reveals how International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, without any legal basis, was involved in an operation to keep Gbagbo prisoner – five months before the ICC had even opened an investigation into his alleged crimes against humanity, for which he is now on trial in The Hague. Fanny Pigeaud reports on a covert operation in which the ICC appears to have played a key role France’s political manoeuvring in its former West African colony.

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On April 11th 2011, about 30 French army vehicles took up position in the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan in front of the smoking remains of the official residence of the country’s president which had been reduced to ruins after bombing raids by French military helicopters.