Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo Sets Homecoming For June 17
Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo will arrive home on the afternoon June 17 after being cleared of crimes against humanity for violence following the country’s 2010 election, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Gbagbo “will arrive on a Brussels Airlines flight in Abidjan on June 17,” spokesman Justin Katinan Kone told reporters.
His scheduled arrival time is 2 pm (1400 GMT), he said.
“He is coming for peace and he wants everything to happen peacefully” on his return, he added.
The former president was arrested in April 2011 over violence triggered by his refusal to acknowledge defeat in the previous year’s election, in which 3,000 people were killed.
He was finally acquitted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague in March after a lengthy trial.
Spokesman Katinan said Gbagbo would bring “a very important message of reconciliation that the people are expecting, whose aim is to reforge as far as possible the broken bonds”.
Incumbent President Alassane Ouattara, who defeated Gbagbo in 2010 and has been reelected twice, decided after his predecessor’s acquittal to grant him the status of a former head of state.
While Gbagbo’s camp hopes for a “mass welcome” with thousands of supporters, it has spent weeks negotiating details with a government keen to avoid unrest.