The decision was expected for several months. The international criminal Court (ICC) announced on Thursday 28 may, authorise it subject to conditions, the former ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo and his co-accused Charles Blé Goudé to leave their cities of residence. The lawyers of the ex-head of State had claimed in early February that the ICC gives him a freedom without condition, arguing that" there cannot be restrictions to the freedom of an acquitted person ". The court rejected this request, noting " that the defence of Mr. Gbagbo had not demonstrated a clear error of reasoning or that particular circumstances justified a review of the judgment ", said, Thursday, the Court in a press release.
however, They decided to put an end to some of the conditions imposed on the release of MESSRS. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé, in particular those of the "do not move outside the limits of the municipality in which they reside in the host State" and surrender to the ICC, all the parts of identity they have, especially their passport ".
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months of indecision
at the age of 74, the former chief of the State resides in Brussels, Belgium, where he is under house arrest since his acquittal in 2019 charges of crimes against humanity. And his former minister for Youth, Charles Blé Goudé, 48-year-old, meanwhile, remained in The Hague. Thus, they can now travel, or even relocate, where they want. But not without conditions. They can only go in one of 123 member States of the Court among which Côte d'ivoire. In this way, the ICC retains control, as the member countries are obliged to cooperate and to execute any order that could take the Court in this folder is far from being resolved.
Other, condition : any country in which Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé may wish to make must, in particular, to accept beforehand to receive them, said a spokesman for the Hague Court. It should be noted that this is the registry of the Court, which must defer to the two Ivorians their papers journey, including their passports seized at the end of 2011 to Gbagbo and in 2014 for Blé Goudé.
as a reminder, in January 2019, after more than seven years in detention in The Hague, Laurent Gbagbo has been found not guilty in January 2019 of crimes committed between 2010 and 2011 during the post-election violence in Côte d'ivoire, which had some 3 000 people dead in five months. He had been acquitted at the same time that Charles Blé Goudé, former leader of the Young Patriots from ivory coast.
But Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the ICC, had appealed the acquittal.
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An appeals trial in the highly anticipated
The organization of the appeal procedure has been delayed due to the pandemic of sars coronavirus, and several hearings which were to be held again this week had to be postponed. This explains why the two men are still subject to restrictions, such as the prohibition to speak publicly about the case still ongoing. And they also have the obligation to be present at all convocations of the judges and the hearings of the appeal procedure.
Interviewed by the AFP in the night from Thursday to Friday, Charles Blé Goudé has said that he is " glad to regain his freedom of movement ", adding that " the path of justice and truth is long and slow."
"We're happy, it was important that these restrictions be lifted," she responded with the AFP Franck Anderson Kouassi, spokesman for the ivorian popular Front (FPI), the party founded by Laurent Gbagbo. "We now expect the date of his return to the country. We will welcome him. "
The ex-ivorian president Henri Konan Bédié, leader of the democratic party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), the main opposition movement, has expressed his " joy ", taking the view that this court decision is " a moment of happiness for the majority of the Ivorian people ". The PDCI and the FPI have reached a political agreement in view of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
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A folder far from being closed
But back to Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo is more than hypothetical. In effect, the appeal trial could last for long months, and Fatou Bensouda intends to go to the end. The former minister of gambia could propose to the judges to either cancel the acquittal, and, therefore, to repeat the trial, or that the judges pronounce a mistrial in the case. Two strategies have significant consequences for the Court and for the two Ivorians. In the first case, the case will be definitively closed, in the second, it would mean that the two men could be prosecuted for the same offence in any country in the world. For his part, Charles Blé Goudé was sentenced in December 2019 in absentia to 20 years in prison by the ivorian justice for crimes committed in the context of the post-election crisis of 2010-2011.
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