The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court in the Hague has rejected an appeal by the former president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, that he should be released while he awaits trial.

The court announced the decision on Tuesday, dashing hopes for Gbagbo to stand trial when he enjoys some freedom - just like Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto who face similar charges. 

Gbagbo is accused of crimes against humanity after thousands died in post-election violence when he refused to leave office in the West African nation despite losing the November 2010 runoff vote.

The post election conflict killed at least 3,000 people, according to United Nations estimates.

Prosecutors charge that he is responsible for murders, rapes and the arbitrary detention of supporters of his political rival - and now president - Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo was arrested in Ivory Coast, the world's leading cocoa producer, in April 2011 and extradited to The Hague eight months later.

The 68-year-old, who is charged as an "indirect co-perpetrator" in the violence, insists he is innocent.

In June, the court said the case against him was not strong enough to confirm his indictment and asked prosecutors to file more evidence.

Meanwhile before the decision was announced, Gbagbo supporters gathered outside the ICC to demand his release.

Source: Agencies