Ivory Coast: Laurent Gbagbo detained again despite acquittal
Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday asked that Ivory Coast’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, should be kept in custody while they prepare an appeal against his acquittal.
The court should only release Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude, leader of the pro-Gbagbo militant group Young Patriots who was also acquitted, under strict conditions as they are flight risks, trial lawyer Eric MacDonald said at proceedings on Wednesday.
Trial judges had earlier ordered Gbagbo and his right-hand man Charles BleGoude to be immediately freed after clearing them of any role in a wave of post-electoral violence in 2010-2011 that killed 3,000 people.
Gbagbo and BleGoude have been on trial since January 2016 over the bloodshed that gripped the former French colony after Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to his bitter rival, and now president, Alassane Ouattara in a presidential vote.
A former university professor turned activist, Gbagbo spent much of the 1980s in exile in France. After returning, he lost the 1990 presidential vote and spent six months in prison in 1992 for his role in student protests.
He came to power in 2000 in a flawed vote that he himself described as “calamitous”. In the 2010 race, Gbagbo came top in the first round with 38% of the vote before losing to Ouattara in the runoff.
The government said in a statement that the decision to acquit Gbagbo would bolster peace in Ivory Coast.