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President Ouattara said Gbagbo ‘free again’ Ivory Coast | Ivory Coast News

Ouattara said his former chairman and youth leader can return when they want after the ICC is acquitted.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said predecessor Laurent Gbagbo and his youth leader Charles Ble Goude “are free to return to the Ivory Coast as they wish” after they were acquitted of their crimes against human.

Ouattara’s remarks on Wednesday came a week after the International Criminal Court (ICC) upheld Gbagbo’s acquittal, with appeals judges confirming that he was finally justifying the wave of post-election violence in 2010-11.

Mr. Ouattara said at the start of his cabinet meeting in Abidjan: “Agreements will be made so that Laurent Gbagbo can enjoy, under current law, advantages and allowances for former presidents.

Gbagbo has been living in Brussels on an ICC order since being released from prison in 2019. Last week’s ruling clearly cleared him of four crimes against humanity, including murder, mistreatment and rape. done in conflict.

The 75-year-old retains strong support at home despite spending years behind bars at The Hague, and has positioned himself for a potential return since last year.

Identifying himself as a mediator, he warned of the danger of “catastrophic” in the face of increasing tensions as the country advanced to last year’s presidential election.

Many died in unrest after Ouattara announced his candidacy for a third term, a scheme that critics deemed contemptuous of constitutional limits to the presidency. Ouattara maintained the two-term limit to the president that did not apply to him because a constitutional referendum was passed in 2016.

In the grim aftermath of a vote virtually boycotted by the opposition, the re-elected Ouattara bid an olive branch for his old rival. He said Gbagbo had a role in reconciling and providing him with two passports, one of which was diplomatic.

As tensions eased, Gbagbo’s FPI party broke a decade-long boycott and took part in legislative elections this month.

More than 3,000 people were killed in the civil war that followed the 2010 Ivory Coast’s presidential election, when Gbagbo rejected the results declaring Ouattara the winner of the vote.

Gbagbo was expelled from the ICC after being forced to lose power in April 2011, becoming the first head of state to appear in court in The Hague.

Last week’s ruling ended a 10-year legal story about the turmoil.

Amnesty International West Africa researcher Michele Eken said after the acquittal that the victims “will be disappointed again today”.

Eken says parole means “the court does not hold anyone responsible for the atrocities that happened during this period,” but Gbagbo supporters say it will heal. wound to the country.

Technically, Gbagbo could be jailed on his return, sentenced in absentia to a prison term of 20 years for “plundering” the local branch of the Central Bank of West Africa during the conflict. Analysts say this scenario seems unlikely.

For his part, Ble Goude said last week he would ask the government if he could return, after being sentenced to be absent from the Ivory Coast.

“I am Ivorian, I will go home but only if the government will … allow me,” Ble Goude told reporters after being acquitted.



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