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Former Gbagbo aide faces ICC judges

The Hague - Ivorian ex-president Laurent Gbagbo's right-hand man, Charles Ble Goude, faced International Criminal Court judges for the first time on Thursday for his alleged role in a deadly post-election standoff three years ago.

The leader of the so-called “Young Patriots”, a fanatical group of Gbagbo supporters, is facing four counts of crimes against humanity for his role in the 2010-11 unrest which the United Nations said left 3 000 people dead.

Also called Gbagbo's “Street General”, Goude was arrested in Ghana more than a year ago and extradited to the Ivory Coast, but authorities previously were hesitant to send him to the world's only permanent war crimes court.

The firebrand leader on Sunday joined his former boss at the ICC's detention unit in a seaside suburb of The Hague.

Gbagbo, who was transferred to The Netherlands in late 2011, also faces four counts of crimes against humanity, but the court has yet to confirm the charges, pending further investigation. - Sapa-AFP

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