Gbagbo supporters in Ivory Coast welcome ICC decision to uphold acquittal

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Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo erupted with joy over the International Criminal Court’s decision to uphold the former Ivorian president’s acquittal of crimes against humanity. But for victims of the deadly 2010-2011 post-electoral violence, the reaction was altogether different. FRANCE 24’s Sam Bradpiece reports from Abidjan.

At the headquarters of Gbagbo’s party, the Popular Front (FP), the bottles were popping as his supporters celebrated Wednesday’s decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to uphold the acquittal of Ivory Coast’s former president of crimes against humanity.

In 2019, the ICC acquitted the first head of state to stand trial at the tribunal of responsibility for crimes including murder, rape and persecution following disputed elections in 2010, with judges saying prosecutors failed to prove their case.

On Thursday, the court upheld the ruling, paving the way for the former Ivorian leader’s return home after a decade away.

But for victims of the 2010-2011 violence, the decision represented a failure of justice and the legitimising of impunity in the Ivory Coast.