The International Criminal Court on Thursday ruled that Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo can leave Belgium under certain conditions, following his acquittal last year over post-election violence that killed 3000 people.

Gbagbo, the first head of state to stand trial in The Hague, and his former minister of Youth Charles Blé Goude, were cleared in early 2019 of crimes against humanity.

In the video below, The International Criminal Court conditionally releases Laurent Gbagbo from Belgium: 

Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front Party (FPI) is preparing to challenge President Alassane Ouattara’s ruling party in elections scheduled for October this year.

Gbagbo and Ble Goude were freed from detention by the International Criminal Court in February last year, under the condition that he will stay in the country that accepts to take him in.

Gbagbo’s potential return to his homeland is complicated by the fact that he was handed a 20-year sentence there for embezzlement, after a trial in absentia, in January 2018.

In December last year, Ble Goude was sentenced in absentia to 20-years in prison by a court in Abidjan for his role in the civil war that followed the 2010 presidential election.

They have always maintained their innocence.

The political party (the Ivorian Popular Front) of former Ivory Coast President, Laurent Gbagbo, says they await his arrival back in the country to take his rightful place as leader. The elections scheduled for October this year.

This after, the International Criminal Court ruled that Gbagbo and his deputy, Ble Goude were free to leave Belgium under certain conditions, following their acquittal last year for crimes against humanity.

It remains unclear if Gbagbo will go back to the Ivory Coast.

IVP Secretary-General Evariste Kochi says, “This is a very big step forward for their freedom. Gbagbo is a patriot, Gbagbo is being expected by the whole Ivory Coast. When they announced that Gbagbo is fully free, that he’s now going to get back his passport to travel, the whole Ivory Coast is dancing. We are expecting the prodigal son to come back home to take the place that’s his for him, to start ruling over the Ivorians who have always been expecting him.”

In the video below, IVP Secretary-General Evariste Kochi speaks about Gbagbo being allowed to leave Belgium: