Supporters of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo react with joy at the International Criminal Court on Wednesday upholding his acquittal on appeal on charges of crimes against humanity –paving the way for his return home after a decade away.
Jean Gossé, a Gbagbo supporter is eleated!
“We say that the whole of Africa has just been liberated today. It’s the whole of Africa, especially Côte d’Ivoire. That is why we have gone crazy. This day will remain engraved in our memories. Our prisoners will all be freed, after Laurent Gbagbo, that’s why we are going crazy.”
Victorine Tiébresson, the leader of women Gbagbo supporters, appears relieved.
“He is no longer in the dock. He has been released, he has been acquitted. There is no other reason to put him in prison.”
Appia Assémien, a youth leader, feels vindicated.
“We have just learned that all the conditions against President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé have been lifted, so in conclusion, the appeal has been rejected. That is why I have this t-shirt because we’ve known for a long time that the president would be freed, that this appeal would be rejected.”
Judges dismissed an appeal by prosecutors against the ICC’s 2019 shock decision to clear Gbagbo and his former youth leader Charles Blé Goudé over a wave of post-electoral violence in 2010-11.
The first head of state to stand trial at the tribunal, Gbagbo, 75, had denied all charges over the bloodshed in which 3,000 people were killed after he disputed the results of the 2010 vote.
Gbagbo has been living in Brussels under the court’s orders since his release from detention in 2019 but had planned to return to Ivory Coast if cleared, thanks to an olive branch offered by his erstwhile rival Alassane Ouattara.