Charles Blé Goudé: “I reach out to Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara”

In an interview with France 24, Charles Blé Goudé, loyal to former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and former leader of the Young Patriots movement, recalls the relaxation of his conditional freedom decided by the International Criminal Court and reaffirms his “will” to return home. He assured “reach out” to President Alassane Ouattara and announced the establishment of a new coalition with various actors from the Ivorian civil society.

In an interview with France 24, Charles Blé Goudé, former Minister of Youth of Laurent Gbagbo, in the first instance for crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC), reaffirms his desire to return to the Ivory Coast, following the judges’ decision in The Hague on May 28 that relax his trial, like that of the Ivorian president, pending their appeal procedure. He explains that he has “not yet” made an official request for this to the Ivorian authorities, but that he has taken steps through various channels. He assured “reaching out” to President Alassane Ouattara, stressing that such a gesture would be a strong symbol of reconciliation.

“I’m going to go home and I think all this is discussed, given the contacts I make, we will discuss. If it succeeds, so much the better, if it did not succeed, we will always keep talking,” he says. “Making peace after such a deep crisis as the one our country has known does not happen with a magic stick. Of course, there must be a little will and mine exists. Ouattara and his entire team.”

On Monday, the Ivory Coast Victims Collection (CVCI), the post-crisis crisis association of 2010-2011 that killed 3,000, expressed its “energetic opposition” to the return of former president Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé in Ivory Coast.

Charles Blé Goudé says he is convinced that the December 2019 sentence for twenty years in prison, which he is subject to in Ivory Coast, for “murder, torture and rape” could be set off in negotiations with power and recalled that the current president Alassane Ouattara himself was the subject of sentiments in his time before he could return to the country. He also refuses to comment on the accusations made by former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, according to which the government uses legal procedures to oust all of its opponents in the next presidential election, claiming he is not “a commentator”.

In early November 2019, the Ivorian judicial system also sentenced Laurent Gbagbo on appeal in absentia to twenty years in prison for the “robbery” of the Central Bank of West African states during the post-crisis crisis.

“Carries Ivorian Voice”

The former youth minister also says that he has not spoken to Laurent Gbagbo since the judges’ decision on his trial and adds that it is for the former president to say whether he wants or not presidential candidate scheduled for October. While claiming to be loyal to him and not to consider an application himself, he added that he “would not hesitate” if needed. He announced that he had been in contact with the former first lady Simone Gbagbo, a “value person”, whom he considers capable of being a candidate for top official if she so wishes. “Simone Gbagbo is a lady whom I greatly admire and which to me is a chance for the Ivory Coast and for Africa,” he said.

Finally, the former head of the Young Patriots movement announced the establishment of a new coalition on June 13 with various actors from the Ivorian civil society, “to speak out for the Ivorians”. He says he was not asked to join the alliance formed between Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) by Laurent Gbagbo and PDCI for Henry Konan Bédié.

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