Former President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo has returned to his home country after ten years.
He has been away, facing trial for crimes against humanity on the back of the brief civil war that took place in 2010 in Ivory Coast.
The ex-president and his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude were acquitted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Judges dismissed an appeal by prosecutors over the 2019 decision to clear him and Ble Goude over the post-electoral violence.
More than 3,000 people were killed in the civil war that followed the disputed 2010 vote when Mr. Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing.
Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara said in April that his predecessor can return home.
On Thursday the former president touched down on home soil amid chants and jubilation from his supporters.
Masses in Côte d’Ivoire on the streets welcoming back President Koudou Laurent Gbagbo. No one that can kill the spirit of the masses Revolution. pic.twitter.com/PkKv6C2ej6
— Andile Lungisa (@mrlungisa) June 17, 2021
Gbagbo said after arriving home that he was “happy about being back in Ivory Coast and Africa.
Because (inaudible) I know that I am from Ivory Coast but in prison, I knew that I belonged to Africa, all of Africa, all of Africa supported me (inaudible) as well as my people, most of Africa.”
Gbagbo was the first head of state to stand trial at the tribunal. He denied all charges over the bloodshed.
His trial started in January 2016, but three years later judges found that prosecutors had “failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard.”
It was one of the ICC’s biggest failures since it was set up in 2002 as the world’s only permanent war crimes court.