Ivory Coast's Gbagbo makes first ICC appearance

December 5, 2011 - 10:41 AM
APTOPIX Netherlands International Criminal Court Gbagbo

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, right, waits for the judges to arrive as he appears for the first time at the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday Dec. 5, 2011. Gbagbo was extradited to the Netherlands last week to face charges including murder and rape committed by supporters as he attempted to cling to power. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo has appeared at the International Criminal Court, the first former head of state to face judges at the world's first permanent war crimes court.

Gbagbo was calm and smiled at supporters in the public gallery as the 25-minute hearing opened Monday. He told judges he did not need them to read the charges against him.

Gbagbo was extradited to the Netherlands last week to face charges including murder and rape committed by supporters as he attempted to cling to power. Prosecutors say about 3,000 people died in violence by both sides after Gbagbo refused to concede electoral defeat. President Alassane Ouattara took power in April with the help of French and U.N. forces.