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Laurent Gbagbo
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World Leader
    (May 31, 1945- )
    Born in Gagnoa, Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
    Birth name was Koudou Laurent Gbagbo
    Founding member of the Ivorian Popular Front (1982)
    Elected to the National Assembly (1990)
    President of Ivory Coast (October 26, 2000-April 11, 2011)
    Extradited to the Hague and charged with four counts of crimes against humanity (November 29, 2011)
    First former head of state tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC)
    Acquitted (January 15, 2019)
    His government was responsible for multiple massacres of civilian protestors.
    He had the presidential elections originally scheduled for 2005 postponed six times to 2010.
    He accused his main opponent, Alassane Ouattara – whose father had been born in Burkina Faso – of not being a true Ivorian and thus not fit for the presidency.
    After Ouattara won, Gbagbo claimed that there had been massive vote fraud, nullified the vote in nine heavily pro-Ouattara districts in the north, and had himself declared the winner.
    Violence after the disputed election resulted in 3,000 deaths.
    He threatened to commit genocide against the mostly Islamic northern part of the Ivory Coast.
    He was a history professor who was jailed for two years for ‘subversive teaching.’ (1971-73)
    The ruling military junta attempted to nullify his victory in the 2000 Presidential election; he was installed as president after massive street protests.
    He survived a coup attempt that may have been backed by Ouattara (2002).
    Ouattara’s supporters also committed atrocities during the uprisings after the 2010 election, but none of them were sent to the ICC, leading to accusations that Gbagbo’s prosecution was an example of ‘victors’ justice.’
    He was acquitted without presenting a defense after the ICC judges ruled that the prosecutors had failed to establish a case.

Credit: C. Fishel


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