The former president and his youth leader can return if they want, Outatara said after the ICC upheld their acquittal.
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has said that his predecessor Laurent Gababo and his youth leader Charles Bly Gowda could “return to Ivory Coast if they want” after being acquitted of crimes against humanity.
Ouattara’s remarks on Wednesday came a week after the International Criminal Court (ICC) upheld Gabago. Redemption, The appellate judges confirmed that he was finally clear about a wave of post-election violence in 2010-11.
At the start of the cabinet meeting in Abidjan, Otara said, “Arrangements will be made so that Laurent Gabago can enjoy the benefits and allowances that former presidents receive from the place, in accordance with the law.”
Gigabo has been living in Brussels under the direction of the ICC since his release in 2012. Last week’s verdict clearly cleared him of four charges against humanity, including murder, torture and rape during the conflict.
The 755-year-old man, who has spent many years in The Hague, has maintained strong support at home and has been pushing for a possible return since last year.
Referring to himself as a consensual figure, he warned of the danger of a “catastrophe” in the face of growing tensions over the country’s run-up to last year’s presidential election.
Many people died in unrest after Ouattara announced his bid in the third term, a plan that critics said he hated the constitutional limits while he was president. The North maintained that the two-term limit does not apply to presidents due to the passage of a constitutional referendum in 2014.
In the final result of a vote of almost universal boycott by the opposition, the re-elected Otara provided an olive branch to his former rival. He said Gabago had a role in the reconstruction and provided him with two passports, one of which was a diplomatic pass.
As tensions eased, Gabbago’s FPI party broke a decade-long boycott and took part in assembly elections this month.
More than 3,000 people have died in the civil war since Ivory Coast’s 2010 presidential election, when Gababo disputed the results, declaring Ouattara the winner of the vote.
Gagabbo was released from the ICC after stepping down in April 2011, becoming the first head of state to face trial at a tribunal in The Hague.
Last week’s ruling ended a 10-year-long legal battle over unrest.
Michelle Akon, a researcher for Amnesty International West Africa, said after the acquittal that victims would be “disappointed again today”.
Akon said the acquittal meant “the court did not hold anyone responsible for the atrocities committed during this period”, but Gabbago’s supporters said it would heal the country’s wounds.
Technically, Gabago could be jailed on his return, having been sentenced to 20 years in prison in absentia for “looting” a local branch of a central bank in a West African state during the conflict. Analysts say the scenario seems unlikely.
As part of that, Billy Goode said last week that he would ask the government if he could return after being convicted of absenteeism in Ivory Coast.
“I am Ivorian, I will return to the country but only when the government approves me …,” Blair Gaur told reporters after his precise release.