The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered a review of the decision to continue to detain the former President of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, who is accused of crimes against humanity.
Laurent Gbagbo is accused of four counts of crimes against humanity that he allegedly committed during the 2010/2011 post-election violence in that country.
Hostilities erupted after the presidential election result was disputed by supporters of the incumbent, Mr Gbagbo, and his opponent, current President Alassane Ouattara.
In March this year, the ICC’s Trial Chamber 1 ruled that Mr Gbagbo, who is charged alongside his former Youth Minister, Charles Blé Goudé, should continue to remain in detention.
His lawyers however appealed to the Appeals Chamber, which ordered a review of Mr Gbagbo’s continued incarceration, saying, the Trial Chamber “committed a number of errors”.
The judgement, read by Judge Piotr Hofmanski, said the Trial Chamber was wrong to use Mr Gbagbo’s advanced age, 72, against his release because “it is generally more appropriate for age to be considered in such a manner rather than as a factor that could evidence a motivation to abscond”.
The Trial Chamber also failed to consider the length of time Mr Gbagbo had spent in detention and the state of his health, according to the Appeals Chamber.
“Furthermore, despite the presumption of innocence and Mr Gbagbo’s right not to be compelled to testify or to confess guilt, the Trial Chamber erroneously relied on the fact that he has denied responsibility for crimes with which he is charged,” the judgement said.
The Appeals Chamber therefore reversed the decision to keep Mr Gbagbo in detention and sent the matter back to the Trial Chamber for a new review, adding that it was in no way “suggesting or predetermining what the outcome of the Trial Chamber’s new review should be”.
Meanwhile, the former Ivorian leader will remain in detention.
The trial of Mr Gbagbo, the first African leader to appear before the ICC, as well as Mr Blé Goudé began in January 2016.