International Criminal Court upholds acquittal of former Ivory Coast president
The International Criminal Court on Wednesday upheld the acquittal of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo of all charges of alleged crimes against humanity.
“The appeals chamber, by majority, has found no error that could have materially affected the decision of the trial chamber,” said Chile Eboe-Osuji, the presiding judge on the case, according to Reuters.
In 2019, Gbagbo and former minister Charles Ble Goude were acquitted of responsibility for crimes including rape, murder and persecution following the civil unrest that ensued after the 2010 election in the country, according to The Associated Press.
Gbagbo served as president from 2000 to 2011, when he refused to accept his loss in the 2010 election to current President Alassane Ouattara. His refusal to accept defeat devolved into civil conflict that resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 people, according to the AP.
The former president was acquitted before the defense had a chance to present its side of the case, according to the AP. The court stated there wasn’t enough evidence to support the president’s conviction.
The decision was appealed by prosectors after the original acquittal, stating that “grave errors” had been made during the trial by war crimes judges, according to Reuters.
The 75-year-old had been released to Belgium conditionally, according to the wire service, but judges removed those conditions, making it possible for him to return to the Ivory Coast.