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Former Ivorian minister Charles Ble Goude seeks return after ICC acquittal

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The former Ivorian Minister of Youth, Charles Blé Goudé is seeking a return to the West African country, months after he was acquitted of rights charges by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Charles Blé Goudé informed Africanews that he was willing and is ready to jet back to Abidjan, but authorities are blocking him from doing so.

"I did not link my return to that of President Laurent Gbagbo. The very circumstances that led us here are really linked to this delay. Now that his return has been announced, will I go with him? I am waiting to see," Charles Blé Goudé told Africanews.

Ivory Coast had issued passports to former president Laurent Gbagbo, which will allow him to return from exile in Belgium. 

Charles Ble Goude did not receive his passport. He blamed the Ivorian authorities for blocking his passport issuance citing political differences.

"The passport application that Charles Blé Goudé will send in from my point of view is not just an administrative procedure. The passport issuance is a highly political issue, just like my return to Côte d'Ivoire. From my point of view, I will not have a passport when the Ivorian authorities accept my return. I will only return to Côte d'Ivoire if the Ivorian authorities accept it," he added.

Gbagbo and former Ivorian youth minister Charles Ble Goude have both been unable to return to the West African nation since their January 2019 acquittals under the terms of their release set by the International Criminal Court. 

Gbagbo and Ble Goude faced trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity and war crimes related to the civil war, which saw some 3,000 killed. 

The prosecution is appealing against their acquittal.