Former President, Jerry John Rawlings believes the exoneration of Ivory Coast’s ex-President Laurent Gbagbo marks a new beginning for Ivoirians, while blaming France and its western allies for his incarceration.
According to him, the latest development affords the citizens an opportunity to be united for the development of their country.
On Tuesday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague acquitted Laurent Gbagbo after he had been charged with crimes against humanity in connection with violence following a disputed 2010 election that left 3,000 dead and 500,000 displaced.
He was the first former head of state to go on trial at the ICC.
ICC judges ruled that he had no case to answer because the prosecution had not managed to prove several charges against him.
They have ordered his immediate release.
Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser said the prosecution had “failed to demonstrate that public speeches by Gbagbo constituted ordering or inducing the alleged crimes”.
Mr. Gbagbo’s supporters whooped, cheered and threw their firsts in the air in the public gallery following the announcement, the BBC’s Anna Holligan reports from the court.