ICC upholds acquittal of former Ivory Coast president Gbagbo

Updated: Apr 1

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

Gbagbo and former minister Charles Ble Goude were acquitted in 2019 of responsibility for crimes including murder, rape and persecution following disputed elections in 2010, with judges saying prosecutors failed to prove their case.

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, in his ruling, said: “The appeals chamber, by majority, has found no error that could have materially affected the decision of the trial."

Gbagbo still has strong support in Ivory Coast and his followers say they have been left out of the country’s reconciliation process in the years since his removal from power. They supported his run for president last year, but his candidacy was not approved.

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.

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