Ghana’s former president Jerry John Rawlings has hailed the acquittal of ex- Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo by the International Criminal Court, describing the eight year trial as a waste of Gbagbo’s his life.

Ex-Ghanaian president John Jerry Rawlings (L), President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast (C) and the ex-senegalese President and Secretary-General of La Francophonie Abdou Diouf (R) hold hands in the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Foundation during the 50th anniversary celebration ceremony of the Bar in the Ivory coast, June 25, 2009. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Ex-Ghanaian president John Jerry Rawlings (L), President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast (C) and the ex-senegalese President and Secretary-General of La Francophonie Abdou Diouf (R) hold hands in the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Foundation during the 50th anniversary celebration ceremony of the Bar in the Ivory coast, June 25, 2009. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

“A true African patriot is free,” he tweeted few minutes after the international court in The Hague exonerated and ordered the immediate release of Gbagbgo who was accused crimes against humanity.

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

His refusal to cede power after losing the 2010 Ivorian elections to Alassane Ouattara led to a five-month crisis which killed more than 3,000 people and displaced more than 5,000 people in the West African nation.

He was put on trial by ICC prosecutors but the judges Tuesday ruled he had no case to answer because the prosecution failed to prove the several charges against him.

The BBC reported the presiding Judge, Cuno Tarfusser, said the prosecution had “failed to demonstrate that public speeches by Gbagbo constituted ordering or inducing the alleged crimes”.

Welcoming Gbagbo’s exoneration by the ICC Tuesday, Mr. Rawlings said Gbagbo did not deserve to spend eight years of his life going through the trial which he claimed was masterminded by France and its former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Lauren Gbagbo, despite his human weaknesses, did not deserve to have eight years of his life wasted by the machinations of France and Sarkozy, and their western allies,” Rawlings asserted in the Tuesday tweet.

He said while “we celebrate” it is important to remember those who have sacrificed their lives for “the true emancipation of Africa.

“I hope this will serve as a new beginning for Cote d’Ivoire – a source of unity, not division; strength, not weakness!

A United Nations report issued in October 2012 alleged some of Gbagbo loyalists have set up a “strategic command” base, from where they were planning to overthrow the Ouattara government.

This was at a time that one of Gbagbo’s key allies, Justin Kone Katinan, who was arrested on August 24, 2012 on an Ivorian warrant for economic crimes he allegedly committed, was going through extradition proceedings.

Ghana disputed the UN’s findings, but the then President, John Dramani Mahama pledged that the country will not be used as a haven for any coup plotters.

 

Source: https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/France-Sarkozy-wasted-8-years-of-Gbagbo-s-life-Rawlings-715435

 

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Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo freed by International Criminal Court

(CNN) The former President of Cote d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo has been acquitted of all charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, an ICC press officer tells CNN.

Gbagbo, who ruled the West African country from 2000 till his arrest in 2011, had been on trial for violence in the country following the 2010 elections.
The Netherlands court said prosecutors were not able to prove his guilt nor that of his co-accused Charles Ble Goude, a former minister in the country.
The prosecutor may request that he remains in detention, the court press officer says. The ICC judges will hear that possible request Wednesday morning at 4am ET.
Ivory Coast suffered months of violence when Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, refused to step down after Ouattara was declared the winner.
Thousands of people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced during the civil war that broke out.
Gbagbo was arrested a few months later and taken to the ICC court where he faced charges of crimes against humanity in the West African country, also known as Cote d’Ivoire.
Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director reacted to the ruling, calling it a “crushing disappointment” to the victims.
“The acquittal of Gbagbo and Ble Goude will be seen as a crushing disappointment to victims of post-election violence in Cote d’Ivoire,” she said in a statement.
“However, the judges found that the Office of the Prosecutor had not presented evidence needed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt… This ICC ruling reminds us that fair trial and due process must be at the heart of international criminal justice.”