06:58 GMT14 July 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday dismissed the war crime charges against former Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo and his co-accused former political ally, Charles Ble Goude, and ordered their immediate release over lack of sufficient evidence.

    "The chamber by majority hereby decides that the prosecutor has failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard … grants the defence motions for acquittal from all charges against Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Ble Goude, orders the immediate release of both accused," the judge said.

    According to experts, a number of crimes were proven by prosecutors, but direct links between the crimes and Gbagbo were not established.

    ​In October 2011, the ICC launched a probe into acts of violence committed during the 2010-2011 conflict in Cote d'Ivoire, during which there were frequent clashes between security forces and the local population. In 2016, the ICC began its trial against Gbagbo and Ble Goude, charging them with crimes against humanity.

    ​Between 2010 and 2011, Cote d'Ivoire faced a political crisis. Gbagbo was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election in 2010, after claiming there was electoral fraud in several regions that would have made Gbagbo's rival, Alassane Ouattara, the winner. Nevertheless, Ouattara, backed by a number of countries and international organizations, continued to contest the election results. As the political crisis was gaining momentum, Gbagbo cracked down on the governing regime’s opponents, ordering the country’s military to close the borders. International organizations reported numerous human rights violations during the conflict.

    ​The conflict began to subside after Gbagbo was arrested on 11 April 2011, by Ouattara's forces with the support of the French military.

    release, charges, war crimes, International Criminal Court (ICC), Laurent Gbagbo
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