ICC acquits former Ivory Coast strongman Gbagbo

The International Criminal Court on Tuesday acquitted former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo over post-electoral violence in the West African nation in a stunning blow to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Judges ordered the immediate release of the 73-year-old deposed strongman, the first head of state to stand trial at the troubled ICC, and his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude.

The pair hugged each other after the decision was handed down while supporters started cheering wildly and clapping in the public gallery of the court, prompting head judge Cuno Tarfusser to order them to sit down and “behave”.

“The chamber by majority hereby decides that the prosecution has failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard,” Tarfusser told the court.

He added that the court “grants the defence motions for acquittal for all charges for Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Ble Goude and orders the immediate release of both accused.”


The pair each faced four charges of crimes against humanity over the 2010-2011 bloodshed in which around 3 000 people were killed.

Prosecutors said Gbagbo and Ble Goude, 47, clung to power “by all means” after he was narrowly defeated by his bitter rival and now president Alassane Outtara in the elections in the world’s largest cocoa-producing nation.

But the judges said there was no evidence of a “common plan” to foment violence.

Their release was suspended until Wednesday to give the prosecution time to respond to the shock judgment.

The highly divisive case has tested the court’s avowed aim of delivering justice to the victims of the world’s worst crimes.

It comes after a series of setbacks for the tribunal, which began life in 2002.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Agency
External source

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…