The Hague (AFP) - The world's only permanent war crimes court on Wednesday delayed the opening of the highly-anticipated trial of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo until January.
The decision by the International Criminal Court based in The Hague came the same day as Gbagbo's bitter rival Alassane Ouattara won a second term in office.
Gbagbo, 70, and his former militia chief Charles Ble Goude, 43, are due to stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity after the ex-president triggered political unrest when he refused to concede defeat to Ouattara in the 2010 elections.
The trial had been scheduled to open on November 10, but the ICC has now decided to give judges more time to examine expert reports on Gbagbo's health.
At the request of Gbagbo's defence, three experts were ordered to carry out a medical examination "to facilitate the adjudication of any issues as to Mr Gbagbo's fitness to stand trial," the ICC said in a statement.
"Considering the chamber's obligation to carefully evaluate and consider the reports submitted by the appointed experts... the chamber re-scheduled opening statements to start on 28 January 2016," it added.
The experts will now testify to the ICC on November 10 to 12.
Weeks of tensions in the western African nation after the 2010 elections led to a bloody standoff in which some 3,000 people were killed.
Gbagbo was eventually arrested when Ouattara's forces, backed by the United Nations and France, overran his heavily fortified residence in Abidjan in April 2011.
He was transferred to The Hague in November 2011 and is the first former head of state to be handed over to the ICC.
In an earlier report to the court from November 2012, medical experts agreed he seemed to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and hospitalisation syndrome.
But only two out of the three said Gbagbo was not capable to stand trial, and the ICC ruled that he was therefore "fit to take part in the proceedings before this court."
The Ivory Coast's election commission said Wednesday that Ouattara had been re-elected in a landslide victory in Sunday's polls with 84 percent of the vote.
The Ivorian government has meanwhile repeatedly refused to hand over Gbagbo's wife, Simone Gbagbo, also wanted on charges of crimes against humanity. She was sentenced by an Ivorian court to 20 years in jail for murder.