Côte d’Ivoire’s former minister for youth Charles Blé Goudé, stated on Thursday in an interview from the Hague his desire to return quickly to his homeland - as he expressed his hopes for a gesture, pardon or amnesty on the part of the Ivorian authorities to make this a reality.
Acquitted along with his mentor and former president of Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo on Wednesday by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity linked to the post-election violence in their homeland in 2010 to 11 -- which killed some 3,000 people, Goudé remains under a twenty-year prison sentence dealt by the Ivorian judiciary for "complicity in murder" within the same electoral crisis context.
The former leader of the Young Patriots of Côte d'Ivoire shared that he had submitted paperwork to the Ivorian embassy in the Netherlands weeks prior -- as he also asked his fellow citizens for forgiveness in the spirit of forward-moving reconciliation.
Goudé did not give a time frame for his return home but is hopeful that the Ivorian authorities will respond positively to his wishes.
- Background & Context -
International Criminal Court appeals judges on Wednesday upheld the acquittals of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo and former minister Charles Ble Goude on charges of involvement in deadly post-election violence.
Leaving the court a free man, Ble Goude said he was happy the case was over.
“I'm an acquitted person now definitely speaking. I thank all the people of Ivory Coast and Africa for their support,” he said.
He would not give a time frame for returning home, saying he first would speak with his family and lawyers.
Gbagbo was believed to have left the court without speaking to the media.
It was not clear what his next step will be or when he might seek to return to Ivory Coast.
Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said the panel “rejects the prosecutors' appeal and confirms the decision of the Trial Chamber.”
More than 3,000 people were killed after Gbagbo refused to accept defeat by his rival, current Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara.
Prosecutors appealed the 2019 ruling, saying the decision to acquit was wrong and asking appeals judges to declare a mistrial, but the appeals panel rejected all their arguments.
Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were released following their acquittals but returned to court for Wednesday's hearing.