The Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) founded by ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, authorized under conditions to leave Belgium where he was under house arrest, spoke of his return to Côte d’Ivoire calling on President Alassane Ouattara for “dialogue”.
“We have launched an appeal to President Ouattara (…) to seize” this opportunity to engage Côte d’Ivoire on the path of true reconciliation and lasting peace, “Assoua told AFP. Adou, the secretary general of the FPI.
“In the Constitution, it is said that no Ivorian can be forced to remain in exile. It is up to him (Ouattara) to take responsibility for Laurent Gbagbo to return to his country,” continued the former minister. “When you command a country, your biggest wish is that your country is at peace. So what can cause trouble, you avoid. I think the government will avoid everything that is not good for stability or peace. ”
Mr. Assoua Adou did not want to comment on a return date and especially if Mr. Gbagbo would return before the presidential election in October. “It depends on him (Gbagbo). He is free, it is he who decides whether he should come or whether he should wait.”
For its part, the Cojep (Pan-African Congress for Justice and Equality of Peoples), the party of ex-political leader Charles Blé Goudé, who benefited from the same measures of the ICC, also called for “dialogue” , considering that it was not a “victory of one side over another”.
“We have a nation to build and not clans to develop (…) it is a decisive step towards peace and reconciliation”, said Dr Patrice Saraka
The latter considered that the convictions in Côte d’Ivoire weighing on the shoulders of MM. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were “political” and could be wiped out by political power. However, he specified that “Messrs. Gbagbo and Ble Goudé are not suicide bombers” implying that they would not return until after “dialogue” with the Ivorian authorities.
Pending their appeal trials, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Thursday that Mr Gbagbo and Blé Goudé could conditionally leave the countries where they are under house arrest (Belgium and the Netherlands respectively), since their acquittal in 2019 of crimes against humanity. These countries must in particular agree to receive them beforehand, making an immediate return to Côte d’Ivoire uncertain.
After more than seven years in detention, Laurent Gbagbo, 74, was found not guilty in January 2019 of crimes committed between 2010 and 2011 during the post-electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire, which left some 3,000 dead in five month.
In early November 2019, the Ivorian justice system sentenced Mr. Gbagbo on appeal in absentia to 20 years in prison for the “robbery” of the Central Bank of West African States during the post-electoral crisis.
Mr. Blé Goudé was sentenced in December 2019 to 20 years in prison for crimes committed during the crisis.