Laurent Gbagbo symbolic victory before ACHPR

36 days before the Côte d’Ivoire presidential election, the African Court of Human Rights re-enters the debate. Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, whose candidacy was invalidated by the Constitutional Council on 14 September, scores one point. The court ordered the postponement of his conviction of Ivorian justice in the so-called “breach of the BCEAO” case and his re-registration on the electoral roll.

With our correspondent in Abidjan, Pierre Pinto

It is an ordinance, that is, a preliminary ruling of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, pending its ruling on the benefits of Laurent Gbagbo’s request. The court therefore ordered Côte d’Ivoire to “suspend the mention of the criminal sanction from the criminal record” by Laurent Gbagbo and “to take all necessary measures to immediately remove all obstacles preventing the applicant from registering on the electoral roll”.

Laurent Gbagbo is challenging because of his removal from the electoral roll. All his appeals were rejected in Côte d’Ivoire in August last year, and he therefore sued the African court on 7 September. His removal from the list had led to a conviction in his absence of 20 years in prison for the so-called “BCEAO robbery” case of Ivorian justice in January 2018 while detained in The Hague by the ICC.

A victory for the former Ivorian president. For so many, his removal was just one of three arguments put forward by the Constitutional Council to justify the rejection of his candidacy for president. The judges also relied on the fact that he had not personally signed his nomination proposal. And that he did not explicitly relinquish his status as an official member of the Constitutional Council, another reason for rejecting candidacy.

Côte d’Ivoire, which refuses to apply the decisions of the African Court of Justice and which has begun to withdraw its declaration of jurisdiction, was not represented at the hearing.

This is a decision that is in the best interests of my client, because for him it was important that this fundamental right was recognized.

Maître Claude Mentenon, lawyer for Laurent Gbagbo