Top stories from the global news app, DAWNS Digest.

Laurent Gbagbo Gets His First Day in Court

He becomes the first former head of state to appear before the International Criminal Court. “Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast’s former president, is set to appear before the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity. Judges on Tuesday will decide if there is enough evidence to try him for masterminding a bloody election standoff two years ago, when four months of fighting left about 3,000 dead following his refusal to concede defeat to current president Alassane Outtara. Prosecutors say Gbagbo, who faces four counts including murder and rape, spearheaded a plan to “stay in power by all means… through carefully planned, sustained and deadly attacks” against supporters of the election winner. ‘Hundreds of civilian opponents were attacked, killed, wounded or victims of rape as a result of this policy,’ the prosecution said.” ( Al Jazeera http://aje.me/ZoK64t)

EU to Lead Mali Donor Conference in May

The long slog of peacebuilding will require much international funding. “The European Union will hold an international aid conference on Mali in May, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday…The EU unblocked 250 million euros ($333.77 million) in frozen development aid to Mali last week, and distributed a first tranche of 20 million euros. The aid had been frozen since the country’s March 2012 coup, but the bloc resumed cooperation after noting signs of democratic progress.” (AlertNet http://bit.ly/135zmVg)

Refer Syria War Crimes to ICC, Says UN Panel Inquiry

An independent group of experts wants the Security Council to grant the ICC jurisdiction for Syria. “United Nations investigators said on Monday that Syrian leaders they had identified as suspected war criminals should face the International Criminal Court (ICC). The investigators urged the U.N. Security Council to “act urgently to ensure accountability” for violations, including murder and torture, committed by both sides in an uprising and civil war that has killed about 70,000 people since March 2011…But because Syria is not party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, the only way the court can investigate the situation is if it receives a referral from the Security Council. Russia, Assad’s long-standing ally and a permanent veto-wielding member of the council, has opposed such a move.” (AlertNet http://bit.ly/12ZTGeP)