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Zuma Joins Hissene Habre, Laurent Gbagbo, Other African Presidents Who Have Had Their Day in Court

Former South African president Jacob Zuma appeared in the Durban High Court on Friday where he was to face corruption charges related to a years-old $2.5 billion arms deal.

The case whose charges Zuma has consistently denied over the years, was postponed to June 8.

The trial is a rarity on the African continent, where political leaders – particularly heads of state – are seldom called to account for alleged wrongdoing.

Below are some African leaders who have ended up in the dock:

Hissene Habre, Chad

Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre was sentenced in 2016 by a special international tribunal sitting in Senegal to life in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity during his 1982-1990 rule. A special tribunal upheld the life sentence last year.

Frederick Chiluba, Zambia

Frederick Chiluba, Zambia’s first democratically elected president, was charged with stealing nearly $500,000 of public funds after standing down in 2002. He was acquitted of all charges in 2009 and died in 2011.

Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo was brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes allegedly committed during post-electoral violence in 2010 and 2011, when he refused to accept defeat by rival Alassane Ouattara.

The trial in the Hague began in 2016 and is ongoing.

Charles Taylor, Liberia

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is serving a 50-year jail term in a British prison for war crimes in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Taylor, a warlord who campaigned for election in 1997 on the slogan “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him”, was convicted in 2012 by the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was summoned to the ICC to answer questions about his indictment on charges of orchestrating a wave of deadly post-election violence that swept Kenya in 2007 and 2008.

The ICC agreed to withdraw the charges against him in 2015.

-REUTERS

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