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Laurent Gbagbo defense says he is a scapegoat

Wednesday - 2/20/2013, 11:20am  ET

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- A lawyer for former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has told International Criminal Court judges that prosecutors are making him a "scapegoat" for deadly violence that erupted after 2010 elections.

Gbagbo lawyer Emmanuel Altit claimed at a crucial pretrial hearing Wednesday prosecutors are focused solely on one side of the post-election violence and ignoring the role of his rival, current President Alassane Ouattara.

Altit's claim reflects concerns voiced by human rights groups that the fact the court has only publicly indicted Gbagbo and his wife could fuel a perception that the court is meting out victor's justice.

Prosecutors say they are conducting an impartial investigation of both sides of the conflict that left some 3,000 people dead and shattered Ivory Coast's reputation as a beacon of democracy in West Africa.


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