A President of the Republic without papers in Europe! These are the incongruities of the decision rendered by the ICC.
The residence permit of the former Ivorian head of state has expired since the end of April.
Laurent Gbagbo is therefore no longer in a regular situation in Belgium. And even if he continues to reside in Brussels, he can no longer make even a transfer or withdrawal of money with his expired residence permit. If he falls under police control, he can be locked up in a detention center and deported to his country of origin, Côte d'Ivoire.
By agreeing to receive Laurent Gbagbo on its territory, so that he can enjoy his conditional freedom there, Belgium granted him a residence permit for three months (90 days). The time that the former president is fixed on his fate with regard to the continuation of the procedure; a possible appeal by the ICC prosecutor against the decision of acquittal and immediate release of the court's pre-trial chamber. But until now, Laurent Gbagbo's administrative situation has still not been regularized because of…the ICC!
The ICC has indicated that the registry is already in contact with the Belgian authorities regarding the renewal of Laurent Gbagbo's residence permit, reported Koaci's colleagues who contacted the institution. "Concerning the conditional release of Mr. Gbagbo, and your question on the residence permit: this is a normal procedure concerning the residence permit in Belgium, which is renewed every 3 months. The ICC Registry is in contact with the Belgian authorities on a regular basis and is confident that this permit will be renewed. “, assured the media, the spokesperson for the ICC, Fadi El Abdallah.
According to the same source, the judges of the preliminary chamber of the Court should no longer delay in filing "the written version of the decision" for the rest of the procedure. She also recalls that “the Prosecutor will have 30 days thereafter to decide whether to appeal or not”.
Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé were acquitted by the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber for insufficient evidence against them. They were both acquitted of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 2011 post-election crisis in Côte d'Ivoire. They were released in February by the appeals chamber but under conditions pending the judges' report for a possible appeal by Bensouda Fatou. They are banned from returning to their homes in Côte d'Ivoire and forced to wander around European countries.
The ICC no longer knows on which foot to dance. Former Minister Charles Blé Goudé has already refused three host countries offered to him and continues to stay at the hotel. Laurent Gbagbo now finds himself without papers in Belgium, which is not obliged to continue to welcome him and can order his expulsion or his escort to the border. Fatou Bensouda has two immediate solutions that she could always consider: either she lets Laurent Gbagbo go home to Côte d'Ivoire, or she welcomes him home.