• Press Release

Cote d’Ivoire: Acquittal of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé a crushing disappointment to victims of post-election violence

January 15, 2019

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo greets his legal team as he enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague on January 15, 2019, where judges were expected to issue rulings on requests by Gbagbo and ex-government minister Charles Ble Goude to have their prosecutions thrown out for lack of evidence. - The International Criminal Court on January 15 acquitted former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo over post-electoral violence in the West African nation in a stunning blow to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Judges ordered the immediate release of the 73-year-old deposed strongman, the first head of state to stand trial at the troubled ICC, and his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude. (Photo by Peter Dejong / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo credit should read PETER DEJONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Following today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to acquit Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director said:

“The acquittal of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé is a crushing disappointment to victims of post-election violence in Cote d’Ivoire. However, the judges found that the Office of the Prosecutor had not presented evidence needed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The Chamber ordered both accused to be immediately released.

“The Office of the Prosecutor is likely to appeal this acquittal and the arrangements for the accused to be released will be addressed during a hearing to be held tomorrow morning at the Court.

“This ICC ruling reminds us that fair trial and due process must be at the heart of international criminal justice.

“Victims of the 2010-2011 violence are yet to see justice and reparations for the harm they suffered.”


Today, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court acquitted former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, his former Youth minister. The Defense Motion for acquittal and immediate release was filed on July 23, 2018 by Laurent Gbagbo’s defence.  On August 3, 2018, Charles Blé Goudé’s defence filed a No Case to Answer Motion.

Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were accused of four counts of crimes against humanity: murder, rape, other inhumane acts/ attempted murder, and persecution. These crimes were allegedly committed as post-election violence swept through Côte d’Ivoire between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011. Their ICC trial opened on January 28, 2016. Today’s decision terminates the proceedings against the accused, unless the decision is appealed by the Office of the Prosecutor.