The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday acquitted former Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé of charges for alleged crimes against humanity during 2010 and 2011 in the Ivory Coast, saying the prosecutor failed to proffer sufficient evidence of the charged acts.
The decision brings Gbagbo’s nearly eight-year detention to an end. Specifically, the prosecution failed to establish:
[T]he existence of the alleged common plan to keep Mr Gbagbo in power, which included the commission of crimes against civilians; the existence of the alleged policy to attack a civilian population” and the existence of patterns of violence from which it could be inferred that there was a “policy to attack a civilian population”; that Mr Gbagbo or Mr Blé Goudé knowingly or intentionally contributed to the commission of the alleged crimes or that their speeches constituted ordering, soliciting or inducing such crimes.
The prosecution may appeal the order after official publication, which is expected later this week.
The Ivory Coast has faced turmoil since 2010 when former president Gbagbo lost his second presidential race to former prime minister Alassane Ouattara. The EU recognized that Ouattara defeated Gbagbo, but Gbagbo refused to concede. Gbagbo was accused of starting a civil war after losing the presidency, which resulted in 3,000 deaths and the displacement of one million people. Voters in the Ivory Coast successfully approved a new constitution in 2016 and Ouattara signed the constitution into law later that year.