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Ivory Coast: Laurent Gbagbo wants to return home June 17 | Charges Against Personal Matters

The party chief said the former president would return to Ivory Coast on June 17 following a sentencing hearing on human rights abuses at the ICC.

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo wants to return home on June 17 following his departure to release on criminal charges in the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to his party.

Secretary General of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) Assoa Adou announced the date of his return to Gbagbo on Monday, in front of a group that came to celebrate the birthday of the former president in Abidjan.

Gbagbo, who was President from 2000 until his arrest in 2011, turned 76 on Monday.

The ICC confirmed in March that Gbagbo and his aide, Charles Ble Goude, were well-known for the violence that rocked West Africa in 2010 and 2011.

More than 3,000 people were killed in the months leading up to the war after the 2010 elections when Gbagbo challenged the results of a vote that recently President Alassane Ouattara refused to stand for.

Gbagbo was eventually forced to step down.

He was arrested in April 2011 and detained in northern Ivory Coast before being transferred to the ICC.

He became the first government official to appear in court, although he and Ble Goude have always insisted that they be innocent of any wrongdoing.

Although he has spent many years in Dutch prisons, as well as in Brussels while awaiting the outcome of his appeal in 2019, the former President remains a supporter at home.

“It’s an Ivorian boy who is coming back after 10 years living in an unfair environment,” said Leon Emmanuel Monnet, who heads a committee planning a return visit.

“We will do our utmost to ensure the return of President Gbagbo to a peaceful and reconciled state.”

Gbagbo’s return could be complicated by a 20-year sentence handed down to him in November 2019 by an Ivorian court for embezzling funds from a central bank.

Ouattara said in April that Gbagbo was welcome back from La Haye but did not say whether his follower was forgiven.

Ouattara told a cabinet meeting that his government would fund Gbagbo’s travel expenses and that he had “taken steps to ensure the quality and value of the former councilors’ money”.

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