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Prosecutors appeal ICC acquittal of ex-Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo

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Prosecutors appeal ICC acquittal of ex-Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo

Prosecutors have appealed against the acquittal of former president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo over post-electoral violence that killed around 3,000 people.

The appeal was tabled on Monday after prosecutors expressed shock at the decision of the International Court of Justice to acquit Gbagbo and his deputy Charles Ble Goude, who were both cleared of crimes against humanity in January and released the following month.

“The appeal will demonstrate that the trial chamber committed legal and procedural errors which led to the acquittals of Mr Gbagbo and Mr Ble Goude on all counts,” Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office said.

Judges had cleared the pair “without properly articulating and consistently applying a clearly defined standard of proof,” said Bensouda.

However, the appeal has been condemned by Ivory Coast’s former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who heads Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front party.

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“These are judicial delaying tactics and political doggedness to keep Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude as far away from the country as possible to prevent them from participating in Ivory Coast’s political life,” he said.

Georges Armand Ouegnin, the head of a pro-Gbagbo coalition of political parties and civic groups, echoed him.

“I am deeply disappointed but I’m hopeful,” he said, adding that the pair “are innocent”.

“It’s important that they come back to Ivory Coast for national reconciliation,” he added.

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