Belgium agrees to host Ivory Coast ex-President Laurent Gbagbo

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.   | Photo Credit: PETER DEJONG

Ex-President of Ivory Coast was acquitted by the ICC

Belgium said on Saturday that it has agreed to host Ivory Coast ex-President Laurent Gbagbo pending a possible appeal against his acquittal by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity.

On January 15, the tribunal acquitted Mr. Gbagbo and his aide, Charles Blé Goudé, on charges stemming from a wave of violence after disputed elections in the West African nation in 2010.

The following day, the court ruled that there were no exceptional circumstances preventing the pair’s release from detention in The Hague, and said they could be sent to a member country willing to accept them. “In response to a request from the International Criminal Court, Belgium has agreed to take in Laurent Gbagbo,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Karl Lagatie said, also citing the 73-year-old ex-leader’s “family ties” to the country.

Prosecutors can still appeal the January 15 acquittal, but said in a statement on Friday that they was awaiting the court’s written judgment before deciding how to proceed.

Mr. Blé Goudé’s lawyer said on Saturday that his client was still “waiting” on a host country to declare itself willing to take him in.

Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Blé Goudé went on trial in January 2016, accused of playing a role in murder, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts during the post-election violence. More than 3,000 people died on both sides of the Ivory Coast conflict after Mr. Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to his internationally backed-rival — and now-President — Alassane Ouattara.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:45:13 PM |

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