Belgium to host cleared Ivorian ex-leader

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-47102609

Laurent GbagboImage copyright
AFP

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Laurent Gbagbo had been charged with crimes against humanity

Belgium has agreed to host Ivory Coast ex-President Laurent Gbagbo following his acquittal by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Under his conditional release, Mr Gbagbo will not be allowed to leave Belgium, pending an appeal.

He was the first former head of state to go on trial at the ICC.

He had been charged with crimes against humanity in connection with violence following a disputed 2010 election that left 3,000 dead and 500,000 displaced.

Mr Gbagbo was captured in 2011 in a presidential palace bunker by UN and French-backed forces supporting his rival, Alassane Ouattara.

What was Mr Gbagbo accused of?

The violence in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, came after Mr Gbagbo refused to accept that he had lost a disputed election run-off to Mr Ouattara in 2010.

The five months of violence that followed were described as some of the most brutal clashes the country had ever seen.

During the political stand-off there were bloody clashes and targeted killings in Abidjan in the south, and several hundred people were massacred in the western town of Duekoue.

Prosecutors said Mr Gbagbo had clung to power “by all means” and charged him with four counts of crimes against humanity, murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and “other inhuman acts”.

He denied the charges, which he said were politically motivated.

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AFP

Image caption

Victims of the 2010 post-election violence opposed to Mr Gbagbo’s release

ICC judges ruled last month that he had no case to answer and ordered his immediate release.

Will he be free to return home?

Prosecutors appealed and argued that the former leader presented a flight risk and might not return to The Hague for the appeal.

Friday’s decision sets out the conditions that Mr Gbagbo needs to meet – from surrendering his passport, to the court to seeking its authorisation to move beyond the borders of the host municipality – and not making any statements related to the case.

A spokesman for the ICC told the BBC he could not confirm if Mr Gbagbo had left the ICC detention facility.

A Belgian foreign ministry spokesman said he did not know if the ex-leader had arrived in the country.

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