The International Criminal Court has ordered the release of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, under the condition that he will stay in the country that accepts to take him in and that he will return to the court when asked to do so.
Reading a unanimous decision by a five-strong appeals panel, presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji ordered Gbagbo and co-defendant Charles Ble Goude ‘to be released to a state willing to accept them on its territories’.
Gbagbo, who ruled Ivory Coast from 2000-2011, has spent seven years in custody in The Hague.
The men were acquitted of atrocities charges on January 15 but had been kept in detention pending objections by prosecutors, who plan to appeal against the acquittal and sought guarantees that the men would return to court later if required.
A spokesman for the ICC on Friday night said both men had left the detention center in The Hague ‘as an interim measure,’ without providing further details.
Gbagbo and Goude need to report weekly to the law enforcement authorities of the country that accepts them, and are not allowed to make any public statement on the case, the panel said.
Gbagbo had been charged with human rights violations committed after Ivory Coast's disputed 2010 presidential election, which saw 3,000 people killed and about half a million others displaced.
He was the first former head of state to have been tried by the ICC. (QNA)
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