Brussels: International Criminal Court released former Ivory Coast President after eight-year detainment

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday ordered the release of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo under restrictive terms. A five-judge appeals committee, led by Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji examined the validity of crimes against humanity indictments. Judge Eboe-Osuiji ordered the release of President Gbagbo and his co-defendant Charles Ble Goude, former Minister for Sports and Youth, to a state willing to undertake their protection. Both defendants have to report to police authorities on a weekly basis and return to court hearings when required.

President Gbagbo was a decade-long leader of Ivory Coast, before he abandoned the position in April 2011. Since then, the ICC authorities supervise his detainment, serving indictments for crimes against humanity. Similarly, the Ghanaian security authorities arrested the former Ivorian Minister in January 2013 and extradited him to ICC officials. During his tenure, the Minister allegedly weaponised more than 5.000 proponents of the President.

The court committee dismissed the validity of prosecution claims on 15 January 2019. A follow-up appeal process also invalidated the original accusations against both defendants. Both defendants cannot currently return to Ivory Coast, given the presence of convictions pending to be served upon their return. The ICC panel considered that President Gbagbo and his associates, including Minister Goude, did not authorise the casualties of 3.000 Ivorian citizens within the context of the fall 2010 Presidential Elections. Clashes erupted in the country when President Gbagbo did not hand over his position to the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, who emerged victorious from the presidential elections race.

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