Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude: Totally Acquitted and Free at Last

Laurent Gbagbo
Laurent Gbagbo

Last week, on March 31st, the International Criminal Court justice court appeals judges finally upheld the acquittal of former Ivory Coast president  Laurent Gbagbo and his minister Charles Blé Goudé  (How long shall they kill our prophets…?). They were acquitted 2 years ago in January 2019, but the prosecution stalled, keeping them in Europe, trying to find ways to overturn the decision, and blocking all their movements. Now the ICC judges upheld their acquittal, and technically Gbagbo and Blé Goudé should be free to go home to Ivory Coast! After this witch hunt which has lasted over 10 years, and his arrest and detention in the Hague, Laurent Gbagbo is now free to go home! Can you imagine? Did the ICC apologize for all the years of hurt? the tarnished image? And of course mainstream media, which yesterday published those images of Gbagbo and his wife Simone in their room surrounded by the rebels, now publish one line if at all anything! Unbelievable! They should be sued for playing such major roles in destroying countries, obliterating people’s images, and causing wars! I live you here with excerpts from an article from the BBC. All these tough years of claiming their innocence, all these years of constant support, and people’s prayers, dedication, love, and determination have born fruits. Truth always wins! It may take years… but it prevails! Now it is said that the government of Ouattara, the one installed with French war chars and cannons will try to have Gbagbo go through another trial once he lands in Cote d’Ivoire… Oh, he does not know that even then, like Thomas Sankara said, “La Patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons!” We will keep fighting to the last drop! As Agostinho Neto said: “La luta continua e la victoria e certa!”

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) has upheld the acquittal of Ivory Coast’s ex-President Laurent Gbagbo on charges of crimes against humanity.

Charles Blé Goudé celebrating with his legal team on 01/15/2019 (SkyNews)

It paves the way for his return to Ivory Coast, where he remains an influential figure.

… The former president was in court alongside ally and former youth leader Charles Blé Goudé, who was accused of leading a militia backing him.

They were both acquitted in 2019, but the prosecution had appealed what was seen as the shock decision to clear them. It argued that there were procedural errors in how the original verdict was delivered and insisted that thousands of documents and 96 witnesses presented during the trial had proved their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

But presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said: “The appeals chamber, by majority, has found no error that could have materially affected the decision of the trial chamber.

The appeals chamber hereby revokes all remaining conditions on the release of Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé as a result of this judgement.”

… Whenever a case collapses at the ICC, it damages the perception of the court as a credible tool of international justice, our reporter says.

The appeals judges agreed that the evidence in this case was extremely weak, raising questions about how this trial went as far as it did, she says. It is not the first case that has collapsed at the ICC.

Who / What did we Celebrate in Africa in 2019?

Gbagbo
Laurent Gbagbo

1. The liberation of President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé (How long shall they kill our prophets…?) from the Hague after 8 years unjustly accused of crimes against humanity. All charges were dropped, Laurent Gbagbo, Former President of Cote d’Ivoire, was acquitted of War Crimes, yet Blé Goudé and him are still persecuted by the prosecutor, and Blé Goudé is still stuck in the Hague unjustly, while Gbagbo is in Belgium; both are unable to return home to Côte d’Ivoire. This is another case of Deportation of African Heads of States. Our prayers have been answered, and we will continue until they can both return home, and until Côte d’Ivoire is rid of all the nonsense brought by France there.  As Agostinho Neto Neto said: “La luta continua e la victoria e certa!”

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)‘s first democratically elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, was invested on 24 January which marked a historic day in the life of the DRC. Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi marked the first peaceful transfer of power in the history of the DRC in 60 years, since the Belgium granted it independence.

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Abiy Ahmed, Prime minister of Ethiopia (Source: sa.breakingnews.co.za)

3. Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year. We celebrate it, but it has become quite controversial as he was awarded the Nobel for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea…. the question remains as to why wasn’t his Eritrean counterpart recognized as well … doesn’t it take two to tango? Remember how F. de Klerk and Mandela were both awarded the Nobel peace prize for the end of apartheid? Both sides were recognized… so why not in the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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Kais Saied,  new president of Tunisia getting sworn in (Source: Al Jazeera)

4. Tunisia celebrated the election of Kais Saied aka ‘The Robot’: The Political Outsider Who Won the Tunisian Presidential Election. Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, won the presidential election with a landslide victory. We cheered with the Tunisian people for a good election and hopefully a good choice.

5. Cameroon’s opposition leader Maurice Kamto was freed after almost 10 months of unjust arrest. This has helped us all uncover yet another scandal: Cameroon and the Double Standard of the ‘International Community’. Kamto had been locked up with over 200 of his supporters at the capital’s maximum security prison for a peaceful march. He has now been freed, and all charges dropped, while the situation in Cameroon keeps disintegrating under the leadership of France’s puppet Paul Biya and his croonies.

6. Rwanda announced the opening of the first mobile phone manufacturing plant in Africa. The mobile phones will be entirely made in Rwanda… for Rwandans. Rwanda opens first entirely homemade smartphone factory. The Mara Group, a pan-African business headquartered in Dubai, says the factory will deliver “high quality smartphones at an affordable price.” Volkswagen will also open its first ever car assembly factory in Africa in Rwanda.

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Eliud Kipchoge after crossing the sub-2hour marathon line (Source: Standard.co.uk)

7. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a sub-2 hour marathon to become the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in such times.

7. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record at the Chicago marathon with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 200316 years ago.

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The Fennecs of Algeria celebrating their title at the CAN 2019 (Source: The Guardian)

8. The Fennecs of Algeria won the African Cup of Nations 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. The Fennecs of Algeria defeated the Lions of the Teranga of Senegal 1-0 to become Africa’s new champions. This was their second title since 1990. They were clearly the tournament’s best team. The revelation of CAN 2019 tournament was the Barea of Madagascar which for their first participation ever to the African Cup of Nations, performed extremely well, and went as far as the quarter finals.

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Alvin Zhakata in Khartoum, Sudan (Source: Alvin Zhakata)

9. This year also saw several fans attempt the journey from Cape to Cairo: Trekking 10,000 km for the African Cup of Nations. One of them finished: Alvin Zhakata, of Zimbabwe, trekked 10,000 km to cheer for the Zimbabwean warriors at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo. Even though he arrived late, after his team had been eliminated, he was offered a VIP ticket to the final. What Zhakata did was no easy feat: he traveled from Cape Town to Cairo by foot enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football. This was also a bold political statement to all African leaderswe need roads to connect each other; we need better visa system for Africans, safer travel, and increased trade among each otherwe need a united AfricaZhakata’s statement is one of Unity, … African Unity

10. To end the year in fanfare, Ethiopia celebrated the launch of its first satellite. This is an outstanding feat and we are happy to celebrate with Ethiopian scientists and all Ethiopians.

Laurent Gbagbo, Former President of Cote d’Ivoire, Acquitted of War Crimes

Gbagbo
Laurent Gbagbo

Joy is in our hearts! It has taken us 8 years but we have overcome, or rather Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé (How long shall they kill our prophets…?)have overcome. The hour is to joy, and gratitude, because truly perseverance has been their motto for the past few years. All these tough years of claiming their innocence, all these years of constant support and people’s prayers, dedication, love, and determination have born fruits. Yesterday, January 15th 2019, Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé were acquitted of war crimes at the ICC. I rejoice in this step forward. I live you with snippets of the article from the NPR below. In latest news, the prosecution is trying to bar Gbagbo and Blé Goudé from returning to their home country of Côte d’Ivoire, and instead wants to keep them roaming through in Europe: this is another case of Deportation of African Heads of States. We will keep fighting to the last drop! As Agostinho Neto said: “La luta continua e la victoria e certa!”

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Charles Blé Goudé celebrating with his legal team on 01/15/2019 (SkyNews)

A panel of judges at the International Criminal Court has dismissed charges of war crimes against former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, the first former head of state to stand trial at the ICC. Charges against his former youth minister, Charles Blé Goudé, also were dropped.

[…] A majority of the three-judge panel concluded that prosecutors had failed to show that there was a “common plan” to keep Gbagbo in power, nor “the existence of patterns of violence from which it could be inferred that there was a ‘policy to attack a civilian population,’ ” the court said in a press release.

Public speeches by Gbagbo and Blé Goudé did not constitute ordering, soliciting or inducing the alleged crimes, the judges said – adding that they needed no further evidence from the defense.

[…] After refusing to hand over power, Gbagbo was pulled from an underground bunker at the presidential residence in Abidjan in April 2011, and then whisked to The Hague in November 2011. He was held in custody for more than seven years.