ICC Prosecutors to appeal acquittal of former Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo

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Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, January 15, 2019. Peter Dejong/Pool via AP
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, January 15, 2019. Peter Dejong/Pool via REUTERS

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday said her office would appeal the acquittal of former Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo.

The court acquitted Gbagbo on crimes against humanity charges on Jan. 15, saying prosecutors had failed to prove any case against him. He was then conditionally released from detention after more than 7 years in custody.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Monday she would ask appeals judges to reverse the acquittal and declare a mistrial, resetting Gbagbo’s legal process.

Gbagbo, the first head of state to stand trial in The Hague, and his deputy Charles Ble Goude, were both cleared of crimes against humanity in January and released the following month.

“The appeal will demonstrate that the trial chamber committed legal and procedural errors which led to the acquittals of Mr Gbagbo and Mr Ble Goude on all counts,” Prosecutor Bensouda’s office said.

Judges had cleared the pair “without properly articulating and consistently applying a clearly defined standard of proof,” said Bensouda.

Ivory Coast’s former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who heads Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front party, condemned the appeal, which comes just months before the country faces a presidential election.

“These are judicial delaying tactics and political doggedness to keep Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude as far away from the country as possible to prevent them from participating in Ivory Coast’s political life,” he told AFP.

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