Gbagbo plans to return home to Ivory Coast on June 17

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Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands, on March 31, 2021. ICC-CPI / Document via REUTERS

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo plans to return home on June 17 after his acquittal of charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court, his party announced on Monday.

Gbagbo’s return could be complicated by an exceptional 20-year sentence imposed on him in absentia in November 2019 by an Ivorian court for embezzlement of funds from the regional central bank.

In April, President Alassane Ouattara said Gbango was free to return from The Hague but did not say whether Gbagbo had been pardoned. Read more

Assoa Adou, the leader of a pro-Gbagbo party, announced the date of the former president’s return home to a crowd that had come to celebrate Gbagbo’s birthday in Abidjan.

Gbagbo, who turned 76 on Monday, served as president from 2000 until his arrest in 2011, after refusing to concede electoral defeat to Ouattara. The post-election violence escalated into a civil war that claimed the lives of 3,000 people.

On March 31, the ICC confirmed a 2019 ruling that prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to prove their arguments against Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude, a former youth leader and one of his aides.

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