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Supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo celebrate his acquittal of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, in the Yopougon district of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Jan. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Diomande Ble Blonde).

The Trial of Laurent Gbagbo and the Resilience of Cote d’Ivoire’s Old Guard

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019

In late 2011, as the International Criminal Court prepared to mark 10 years since it began operations, its record was looking decidedly unimpressive.

For one thing, it still had not secured any convictions; the first, for the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, wouldn’t be delivered until March 2012. Perhaps more importantly, the court’s most high-profile suspects sat comfortably outside its reach. Despite their indictments, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Uhuru Kenyatta, then Kenya’s finance minister, both held onto their offices. And Kenyatta was gearing up for what would turn out to be a successful presidential bid in 2013, a campaign in which he cast the ICC as a symbol of neocolonialism to score political points. ...

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