Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo will Monday ask the International Criminal Court to acquit him of crimes against humanity and free him after seven years in detention.
Gbagbo, 73, is the first-ever head of state to be handed over to the Hague-based ICC, where he has been on trial since 2016.
He faces four counts of crimes against humanity for his role in fomenting a wave of post-electoral violence eight years ago in the West African nation.
After more than two years on trial, Gbagbo’s lawyers believe the prosecution failed to prove the charges and are demanding a “full dismissal, an acquittal on all charges” and Gbagbo’s immediate release.
“We are confident that president Laurent Gbagbo will be acquitted, released and will be able to return to his country,” said Justin Koua, the youth chairman of a coalition of political parties including Gbagbo’s own Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) as well as civil society groups.
“Mr Gbagbo is suffering an injustice,” he told AFP.
Defence lawyers also want the same for Gbagbo’s right-hand man Charles Ble Goude, 46, leader of the “Young Patriots” group which allegedly murdered and raped hundreds of people in order to keep Gbagbo in charge.
Judges joined the two men’s cases before trial started and both pleaded not guilty. Read more