Ivory Coast : President Ouattara Pardons Predecessor
The decision to pardon the ex-leader Gbagbo is part of a reconciliation drive ahead of elections due in 2025.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has signed a decree pardoning his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo. President Ouattara made the announcement in a televised address on Saturday, a day before Ivory Coast’s independence celebrations. “In the interests of strengthening social cohesion, I have signed a decree granting a presidential pardon,” he said in his speech.
The President said he has also asked that Gbagbo’s bank accounts be unfrozen and that his lifetime annuity be paid. Gbagbo, President from 2000 to 2011, returned to Ivory Coast last year after being acquitted in 2019 by the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the Hague on war crime charges for his role in a civil war sparked by his refusal to concede defeat after the 2010 election. Back home, he still faced a 20-year prison sentence for a 2019 conviction linked to the robbery of funds from the Abidjan central bank during the post-election period. But he has always denied the charges.
Ouattara’s decision for a pardon follows a rare meeting in July between him, Gbagbo, and former President Henri Konan Bedie. In his Saturday’s speech, Mr Ouattara described their consultation as a “fraternal meeting” in which the three men had “discussed, in a friendly atmosphere, matters of the national interest and the ways and means of consolidating peace in our country”. The three men have dominated Ivory Coast’s fractious political scene since the 1990s. Bedie was President from 1993 until his removal in a 1999 coup...