Former Ivorian President, Koudou Laurent Gbagbo, who ruled the country from 2000 until his arrest in April 2011 by a team made up of French and United Nations forces in an underground bunker located in the presidential palace.
Gbagbo had gone into hiding amidst a crisis that occurred as a result of his refusal to step down from power after losing the presidential elections.
He lost the 2010 presidential elections to his fierce rival, Alassane Ouattara, but refused to relinquish power. The violent crisis that erupted in the country and is on record to be one of the deadliest in its history, resulted in the death of 3,000 and 500,000 displaced people.
Upon arrest, Gbagbo and his close ally, Charles Blé Goudé were handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) where they were charged with war crimes.
Gbagbo’s hopes and that of his supporters were however dashed when prosecutors filed a last-ditch challenge to keep the pair behind bars while the International Criminal Court (ICC) critically authenticates the appeal.
An ICC spokesman was quoted as saying that; “Pending the decision of the appeals chamber on this prosecutor’s request ... Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Blé Goudé shall remain in ICC custody.”
This was sad news to the supporters who were already celebrating outside the courthouse and in his home country. His daughter, Marie Laurence had announced that a homecoming party was to be hosted to welcome the former president after seven years in detention.
Well, it appears the plans for the homecoming party could be resumed as the ICC has again ordered the release of the former Ivorian president.
The unanimous decision was made by five judges and read by presiding judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, that Gbagbo and co-accused Charles Ble Goude are “to be released to a state willing to accept them on its territories.”
A statement released by the ICC read:
“Today, 1st February 2019, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) decided unanimously that conditions are to be imposed on Mr. Laurent Gbagbo and Mr. Charles Blé Goudé upon their release to a state willing to accept them on its territory and willing and able to enforce the conditions set by the Appeals Chamber.
“These conditions are imposed to protect the integrity of the process. A written Judgment setting out these conditions will be made available later today.
“The Appeals Chamber instructed the ICC Registrar, Mr. Peter Lewis, to identify and enter into arrangements with States willing to accept Mr. Gbagbo and/or Mr. Blé Goudé on their territories and enforce the conditions.
“The ICC Registrar may also make appropriate and necessary interim arrangements regarding the release with conditions pending the conclusion of agreements with States.”
Would you want your country to accept Gbagbo and Blé Goudé on its territories?
Header Image Credit: The Telegraph