Two weeks after the Ivorian Minister of Youth Promotion, Mamadou Toure announced to RFI, Belgium confirms its willingness to host Laurent Gbagbo.
“Responding to a request for cooperation from the International Criminal Court, Belgium has accepted to welcome Laurent Gbagbo,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Karl Lagatie, not to know if the former president is found in Belgium.
The two were acquitted by the Dutch authorities on their release from prison around 6:30 pm on Friday night and spent their first night at the hotel in The Hague.
The spokesman of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this Saturday morning his agreement to welcome Laurent Gbagbo on the Belgian soil where his second wife Nady Bamba and one of his sons live, but for the moment Belgium clarifies that discussions are still ongoing with the ICC on the modalities of judicial review, including the issue of his place of residence.
The spokesman of the ministry, Karl Lagatie, said that this is a negotiation that must find its way ” in the coming days ” without further clarification, which obviously delays, all the more, the arrival in Belgium by Laurent Gbagbo.
The Ministry clarifies whether it was necessary for the former head of state to be at all times at the disposal of the ICC if he is summoned for a possible hearing.
According to the procedure, already used in other cases between the Court and Belgium, particularly in the Bemba case, once these discussions are concluded, the Dutch authorities should drive Laurent Gbagbo to the border where he would then be taken in charge by the Belgian police.
Laurent Gbagbo is free, but he has a long list of very restrictive conditions to respect , under penalty of being challenged again by the ICC. He can not travel outside the constituency in which he will be established and must return his passport to the registry. Another constraint, Laurent Gbagbo can not make a public statement. Conditions that apply until the procedure is completely finished.
Indeed, the return of the acquittal decision is expected. A detailed document of several hundred pages in which the three judges of the Trial Chamber justify their oral judgment, pronounced mid-January. This document will not be available for at least five to six months, according to several sources at the ICC. After reviewing this document, the prosecutor will then have one month to appeal. If this possible request on the merits of the case is accepted, the trial will resume where it left off, that is to say, the hearing of defense witnesses. The whole of this procedure could then last several months.
In his entourage, some voices interpret this as a form of “house arrest”. A situation that also deplores Guy Labertit, elected municipal and close to Laurent Gbagbo.
Wheat Goudé pending
Regarding Charles Blé Goudé, no country has, for the moment, agreed to host it, but several European states have been approached. We know that Charles Blé Goudé has family in Europe, especially in Sweden where his sister lives. This could therefore be one of the tracks of his future destination.
Before their release is effective, it should be known that lawyers, relatives and the Court itself remain very cautious. It may be recalled that on Friday the Appeals Chamber notified that any departure from the conditions it ordered could be punished with a return to prison