Côte d’Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé definitively acquitted

In the decision, which was read by Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji on Wednesday, March 31, the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court indicates that it rejects the prosecutor’s appeal and confirms the first instance decision. In January 2019, the former Ivorian president and the former leader of the Young Patriots had been acquitted.
The two thumbs up, as a sign of joy and victory: this was the reaction of Laurent Gbagbo at the announcement of the judgment of the appeal chamber of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday.
The president of the chamber rendered his decision after more than an hour and a half spent taking apart, one by one, the arguments of the prosecutor’s office. Finally, around 4:30 p.m., he concluded “that the chamber rejects the appeal [of the prosecution] and confirms the decision taken in first instance”: Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are therefore definitively acquitted.
The appeals chamber also revoked the conditions of their release and asked the registrar to arrange their transfer to a state or states of their choice. Clearly, the two men are innocent, free, and may return to Côte d’Ivoire if they wish.
This decision, however, is a setback for Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who fails in this emblematic case two and a half months before the end of her mandate.
After his acquittal, Charles Blé Goudé spoke briefly as he left the ICC before joining his supporters. Happy, he hopes to return to Côte d’Ivoire soon, but still does not have a passport. This issue must now be discussed with his lawyers and the Ivorian authorities.
“I am acquitted, definitively. And I thank all the people in Côte d’Ivoire and in Africa for their support,” he told RFI. As for my return, I will talk to my family and my lawyers and in the coming days I will be able to respond. But the appeal chamber has been clear, the conditions for our travel are lifted, and we are happy to hear that. It has been long, very long, but that’s life. We had to go through this ordeal as men. Yes, we have come a long way, but we made it. “

About Geraldine Boechat 2128 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia