International Criminal Court upholds acquittal of former Ivory President Laurent Gbagbo

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The International Criminal Court on Wednesday upheld the 2019 acquittal of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and ordered all conditions of his release removed.

“The appeals chamber, by majority, has found no error that could have materially affected the decision of the Trial chamber,” said Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, reading the panel’s ruling.

Prosecutors had argued that grave errors were made by war crimes judges who found they had failed to prove their case against Gbagbo and co-accused Charles Ble Goude.

Trial judges acquitted both on charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in post-election violence in Ivory Coast in 2010-2011. They ended the trial after the prosecution had finished its case and before the defence began, saying evidence submitted was not enough to support a conviction.

Gbagbo served as president from 2000 until his arrest in 2011 after his refusal to concede electoral defeat to current President Alassane Ouattara. The civil conflict that followed killed 3,000 people.

Gbagbo, now 75, had been released conditionally to Belgium. Judges Wednesday ordered all restrictions on his release removed, paving the way for his possible return to Ivory Coast.

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