The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on Wednesday ordered Côte d’Ivoire to suspend its arrest warrant for Guillaume Soro and to release 19 of his relatives who have been imprisoned for four months.
The African Union institution based in Arusha, Tanzania, which had been seized in early March by Mr. Soro, former speaker of the Ivorian National Assembly, and his relatives, “orders the defendant state (Côte d’Ivoire) to suspend the execution of the arrest warrant against Guillaume Soro”, in a ruling published on Wednesday.
A declared candidate in the Ivorian presidential election scheduled for October, Guillaume Soro has been the subject of an arrest warrant since late December 2019 by the Ivorian judiciary for an alleged “insurrection” attempt and embezzlement of public funds, all charges denied by the former leader of the rebellion of the 2000s.
The court also ordered the “stay of execution of the committal orders” against 19 of Mr. Soro’s relatives accused of varying degrees of complicity, currently detained in Côte d’Ivoire, and their “provisional release”.
Soro’s co-defendants include five deputies and former ministers, member of his party, as well as two of his brothers.
To justify its “unanimous” decision, the ACHPR considers that the arrest warrant and the committal orders are likely to “seriously compromise the exercise of the political rights and freedoms of the applicants”. The court also invokes the risk of “irreparable damage” for the applicants and the “presumption of innocence” in their favor.