Ivory Coast ex-president Laurent Gbagbo opens freedom bid at ICC

Africa

The former  president of Ivory Coast РLaurent Gbagbo will on Monday ask the International Criminal Court to acquit him of crimes against humanity and free him after seven years in detention.

Gbagbo aged 73, is the first-ever head of state to be handed over to the Hague-based ICC, where he has been on trial since 2016.nHe  is currently facing four counts of crimes against humanity for his role in fomenting a wave of post-electoral violence eight years ago in the west African nation.

He has been on trial for more than two years and his lawyers believe the prosecution failed to prove the charges and are now demanding a “full dismissal, an acquittal on all charges” and Gbagbo’s immediate release.

“We are confident that president Laurent Gbagbo will be acquitted, released and will be able to return to his country,” said Justin Koua, the youth chairman of a coalition of political parties including Gbagbo’s own Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) as well as civil society groups.

“Mr Gbagbo is suffering an injustice,” he told AFP.

Defence lawyers have also requested the same for Gbagbo’s right-hand man Charles Ble Goude, 46, leader of the “Young Patriots” group which allegedly murdered and raped hundreds of people in order to keep Gbagbo in charge. Both of whom have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

 

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