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Former Ivory Coast president fit for trial

The Ivory Coast's former president has been deemed fit to stand trial for crimes against humanity. Doctors say special measures may have to be granted during the proceedings.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled Friday that Ivory Coast's ex-president, Laurent Gbagbo, is healthy enough to face charges of murder, rape, persecution and inhuman acts.

"Gbagbo is fit to take part in the proceedings," the Hague-based court said in a statement.

The 67-year-old's supporters allegedly carried out the crimes as he fought to hold onto power after losing elections in November 2010.

Gbagbo was extradited almost one year ago after being ousted following two weeks of street fighting that left 3,000 dead. The ICC says the former president was an "indirect co-perpetrator" in the violence, but he maintains his innocence.

Hearing postponed

A preliminary hearing to assess whether prosecutors had enough evidence to put Gbagbo on trial was postponed due to his ill health. The details of his condition have not been disclosed.

His lawyers said he was tortured while in detention last year by forces loyal to current President Alassane Ouattara.

A panel of medical experts examined Gbagbo's health, and determined he was fit to stand trial. The doctors said that he may require special measures, including shorter court sessions, appropriate resting facilities and the ability to excuse himself and watch the proceedings via video link.

A new date for his hearing has not been set.

dr/mz (AP, AFP, dpa)