Former Ivory Coast‘s President, Laurent Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years in prison in absentia for bank robbery during the 2011 post-election violence for refusing to accept defeat.
He has now been acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to return home in June 2021. This was announced by Assoa Adou, the secretary general to Gbagbo’s party.
The former Youth Minister of Ivory Coast, Charles Blé, was also sentenced to 20 years in prison alongside Laurent Gbagbo. Prior to the announcement, Blé and Gbagbo have been negotiating with the Ivorian government to return home.
Ever since, negotiation for his return had been going on with no specific date yet. Though it was said according to Assoa Adou, that the date may likely be 17 June, 2021.
Last month, Alassane Outtara, the incumbent president, informed the public that Gbagbo could return freely to Ivory Coast in the wake of a reconciliation process engaged by his government.
The government created a reconciliation ministry following the presidential election in 2020. The reconciliation ministry is led by former opposition candidate Kouadio Konan Bertin.
The Ivorian government is ready for Laurent Gbagbo’s return but not with open arms in respect to the 2011 election victims as a result of the violence. This was boldly declared by Adama Bictogo, the vice speaker of the Ivorian parliament and executive secretary of the RHDP (the incumbent president’s party).
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.