Gbagbo plans to return to Ivory Coast on June 17 following ICC’s acquittal

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Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo plans to return home on June 17 following his acquittal on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, his party said Monday.

Gbagbo’s return could be complicated by an outstanding 20-year sentence imposed on him in absentia by an Ivorian court in November 2019 for misappropriating money from the regional central bank.

In April, President Alassane Ouattara said Gbango was free to return from The Hague, but did not say whether Gbagbo had been pardoned.

Assoa Adou, the leader of a pro-Gbagbo party, announced the date of the former president’s return home to a crowd who had come to celebrate Gbagbo’s birthday in Abidjan.

Gbagbo, who turned 76 Monday, was president from 2000 until his arrest in 2011, after refusing to award Ouattara an electoral defeat. Post-election violence culminated in civil war that claimed the lives of 3,000 people.

On March 31, the ICC upheld a 2019 decision that prosecutors had not provided enough evidence to prove their case against Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude, a former youth leader and one of his aides.

(REUTERS)