Ivory Coast’s Ex-President Gbagbo to Return Home on June 17

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is expected to return home on June 17 after his acquittal on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, according to his party.

The party announced the news at a celebration to mark Gbagbo’s birthday in the economic capital, Abidjan, on Monday. It was confirmed by Gbagbo’s lawyer, Habiba Toure.

The Hague-based ICC in March upheld an earlier acquittal, which paved the way for him to return home for the first time in 10 years. Gbagbo, 76, and his former youth minister, Charles Ble Goude, were cleared of allegations of committing crimes against humanity in 2019, but only conditionally released pending the outcome of the prosecutor’s appeal.

Gbagbo triggered a five-month conflict in the world’s top cocoa producer when he refused to concede defeat to President Alassane Ouattara in 2010 elections. The ensuing civil war left more than 3,000 people dead or missing and led to a contraction in the West African nation’s economy in 2011.

Gbagbo may face being imprisoned when he returns home. An Ivorian court in 2019 sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison for looting the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the post-election violence.

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