Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo‘s daughter says her father will return to Ivory Coast. However, she could not say whether or not he plans to return to politics.
On Tuesday, the International Criminal Court acquitted him of all war crimes charges. It ordered his immediate release in a blow to prosecutors who have lost other major cases in recent years.
Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser said prosecutors failed to prove their case against Gbagbo and co-defendant Charles Ble Goude. Goude was a close ally and former political youth leader.
Now, the family is anxiously awaiting his return, but they’re not certain he will return to his homeland.
Gbagbo’s daughter, Marie Laurence Gbagbo, says her father dedicated his life to serving Cote d’Ivoire.
“My father has dedicated his life to serve Ivory Coast. There is no point serving Ivory Coast from another country. He would go back to Cote d’Ivoire. And we expect him to go back to Cote d’Ivoire.”
Asked whether her father would be returning to politics, Marie could not confirm.
“It is a very delicate question and you know you have to take into consideration so many factors. So I can’t, I can’t honestly speak for him on this point.”
Earlier, Gbagbo’ wife Simone Gbagbo said her husband should never have gone to the International Criminal Court, but she praised the ICC’s decision.
Meanwhile, Ivorians are divided about the possible return of their former leader.
Asseke Ngoran says Gbagbo’s release means reconciliation for Ivory Coast.
“Gbagbo is coming back to reconcile and tell people that what happened has happened and we can move forward. He is coming for peace and not for resentment.”
However, Abdoulay Doumbia, who lost two sons when they were attacked by forces loyal to Gbagbo, says the victims’ deaths were in vain.
“It means those who died they are just sheep. The state in Ivory Coast does not respect us. They can’t decide this (freeing Gbagbo) without asking Ivory Coast first.”
International Criminal Court prosecutors say they will appeal the acquittals of Laurent Gbagbo.
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