Ivorian political rivals Ouattara and Gbagbo to meet
The President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara is to hold a face to face meeting with his rival and predecessor Laurent Gbagbo on July 27, 2021.
A presidential spokesperson who made the announcement on Wednesday said this will be the first for the two since Gbagbo’s return to Abidjan last month.
Laurent Gbagbo had spent a decade in exile, facing years of legal procedures at the International Criminal Court for a brief civil war that took place in 2010.
The ex-president and his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude were acquitted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Judges dismissed an appeal by prosecutors over the 2019 decision to clear him and Ble Goude over the post-electoral violence.
More than 3,000 people were killed in the civil war that followed the disputed 2010 vote when Mr. Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing.
Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara said in April that his predecessor can return home, which he did.
The anticipated meeting later this month is seen by observers as a move towards national reconciliation.
Gbagbo since his return has already met with some major opposition figures like the former president and political rival Henri Konan Bédié.
Ex-president Gbagbo was the first head of state to stand trial at the tribunal. He denied all charges over the bloodshed.
His trial started in January 2016, but three years later judges found that prosecutors had “failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard.”
It was one of the ICC’s biggest failures since it was set up in 2002 as the world’s only permanent war crimes court.