Laurent Gbagbo

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Laurent Gbagbo (2007)

Laurent Gbagbo (born May 31, 1945 in Gagnoa , French West Africa ) is an Ivorian politician of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).

He was a professor of history at the University of Cocody-Abidjan and was imprisoned twice for political reasons.

From December 2, 2000 to December 3, 2005 he was President of the Ivory Coast . From 2005 he held the post until December 4, 2010 due to the multiple postponement of the presidential election . Despite being voted out of office, Gbagbo held onto power in the Ivory Coast until 2011, after months of resistance, at the behest of Alassane Ouattara , who the year before had emerged as the winner of the controversial runoff election for the presidency from the perspective of the United Nations and the former colonial power France , at his residence near Abidjan arrested was.

From November 2011 to February 2013 he was in custody at the International Criminal Court in The Hague . In 2013 he had to answer for his "indirect complicity in crimes against humanity". On January 15, 2019, he was acquitted of all charges for lack of evidence.

Political career

Gbagbo first taught history and geography at the Lycée Classique d'Abidjan high school and then received a research assignment at the Institute for History and African Archeology (IHAAA). He was general secretary of the FPI party (1988–1996), its chairman (1996–2000), a member of parliament for the constituency of Ouragahio (1990–2000) and finally in 2000 became president of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire .

The activist (1965–1973)

After completing his Baccalauréat with a focus on philosophy at the Lycée Classique d'Abidjan in 1965, he studied history at the Université d'Abidjan and obtained his license in this subject in 1969. In 1970 he became a history and geography teacher at the Lycée Classique d'Abidjan. Very active in the union, he secretly joined the opposition, together with Bernard Zadi Zaourou , both lecturers at the Université d'Abidjan. Because of his political activities, he was imprisoned in Séguéla and Bouaké from March 1971 to January 1973 .

The historian (1974–1981)

From 1974 he worked as a researcher at the Institute for History, Art and African Archeology (IHAAA) of the Université d'Abidjan and at the same time wrote his doctoral thesis entitled Les ressorts socio-économiques de la politique ivoirienne: 1940–1960 'The socio-economic aspects of Ivorian politics between 1940 and 1960 ' . He received his PhD in 1979 from the University of Paris VII . In 1979 he published his first book on the heroic epic of the King of Manding. A little later, an essay with the title Reflexion sur la Conference de Brazzaville 'Reflections on the Brazzaville Conference ' appeared . In 1980 he became director of the IHAAA.

The exile (1982–1988)

Laurent Gbagbo was an active member of the "University and Research" union SYNARES ( Syndicat National de la Recherche et de l'Enseignement Supérieur ) involved in labor disputes, particularly in the strike at the universities of 1982. Together with some teaching colleagues they secretly founded an association which later became the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) party . He was believed to be primarily responsible for the "college professors' plot" of 1982, which is why he voluntarily went into exile in France to fight against the "dictatorship of the PDCI" ( Parti démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire ) and to promote the multi-party system. In 1983 he published a book with the title: La Côte d'Ivoire pour une alternative démocratique 'A democratic alternative for Côte d'Ivoire' , followed by a joint work that presented the FPI party and its program: Les propositions pour gouverner . He received refugee status and became friends with Guy Labertit, who was then responsible for international cooperation at the French PSU ( Parti Socialiste Unifié ) and editor of the journal Liberation Afrique . This temporarily took him in at home. Under the government of Jacques Chirac in 1986, he was pressured to return to his homeland.

The Return (1988–1995)

He did not return until 1988, after having made concessions and the like in numerous negotiations with the President's envoy Félix Houphouët-Boigny . a. the effectiveness of the multi-party system enshrined in the constitution . After he was accused of being hired by a foreign power to destabilize the regime, he changed his strategy and justified this with the saying "A tree cannot defend itself against a bird". Back in his home country, Laurent Gbagbo organized the first congress of his still illegal party FPI on November 19 and 20, 1988, and he was elected General Secretary. The party defined itself as a left, democratic political force and chose a rose with roots in Côte d'Ivoire as its logo - based on the French PS. In the presidential election in October 1990 he was the only candidate against the incumbent Félix Houphouët-Boigny and received 18.3% of the vote. Gbagbo became the figurehead of the opposition; the FPI won nine seats in the parliamentary elections and six mayorships in the local elections.

President of Ivory Coast (2000-2010)

Laurent Gbagbo was elected as a presidential candidate at the 3rd Ordinary Congress of the FPI from July 9th to 11th, 1999 and won the election against General Robert Guéï on October 22nd, 2000 .

Gbagbo's tenure was overshadowed by a civil war that broke out in September 2002 and split the country. While the north of the Ivory Coast was controlled by rebels, the south was ruled by soldiers close to Gbagbo. The civil war ended in 2007 with a ceasefire, and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro was appointed prime minister.

Ruler and unofficial head of state of Ivory Coast

Gbagbo's first term as president officially ended in 2005, but the upcoming presidential elections were postponed several times as a result of the civil war. They finally took place in autumn 2010 . Gbagbo won the first ballot, but had to face opposition politician Alassane Ouattara in a runoff election. According to the Independent Electoral Commission, Ouattara won it, but the Constitutional Council revoked this election result and declared Gbagbo the election winner. On December 4, 2010, despite international protests, he was sworn in for a second five-year term and formed the Aké N'Gbo government the next day . In the wake of the election there were protests in their own country. According to media reports, there were hundreds of arrests. In response to international protests against his holding on to the presidency, he called on the peacekeeping forces provided by the UN and France to leave Ivory Coast.

International pressure

On December 20, 2010, the European Union imposed an entry ban on Gbagbo and 18 of his confidants. A freeze on their accounts has also been planned. The French and Belgian governments had recognized Ouattara as legitimate president and accredited his envoy as ambassador , the confidants of Gbabgos had since gone into hiding. Both the West African community of states ECOWAS and the African Union suspended Ivory Coast membership, officially asked Gbagbo to resign, ECOWAS, which regularly carried out military interventions, threatened the regime with “legitimate violence” and dispatched a high-ranking diplomatic delegation to meet the elected president to persuade them to give up.

Laurent Gbagbo, together with his wife Simone and confidants Alcide Djédjé , Désiré Asségnini Tagro and Pascal Affi N'Guessan , was affected by sanctions adopted by the United States on January 6, 2011 . All of his possessions were frozen and companies were not allowed to do business with him.

On January 19, 2011, the Swiss Federal Council decided to freeze all possible assets of Gbagbo and those around him in Switzerland with immediate effect. It should not be possible to withdraw these funds from their rightful owners via Switzerland, the Federal Council justified the decision. This affected 85 natural persons and eleven legal persons, organizations and institutions. Due to the situation in Ivory Coast, the European Union (EU) had also decided to freeze the assets of Laurent Gbagbo and those around him. The US had also blocked certain assets.

Civil war

In March and April 2011, the armed conflict between the warring camps escalated. The supporters of Ouattara were able to assert themselves militarily in numerous parts of the country, while violent fighting broke out in Abidjan , the former stronghold of Gbagbo. Apparently, the elected president lost more and more support in the armed forces, which refused to support him or defected to the newly elected president Ouattara. He had all border crossings blocked to prevent his hated opponent from escaping. On April 1, 2011, Gbagbo went into hiding in the course of the chaotic street fighting in Abidjan and said “[He] will fight to the end.” ( Spokesman for Laurent Gbagbo ) Since then he has been hiding in the bunker of the presidential palace, the Ouattaras Troops initially tried in vain to storm. French and UN helicopters shot at the presidential palace several times during the fighting. On April 11, Ouattara's armed forces, supported by French soldiers from Opération Licorne and UN soldiers, arrested Gbagbo in his private residence.

Detention and Trial

On November 30, 2011, the Ivory Coast extradited him to The Hague, where he had to answer before the International Criminal Court (ICC). He has been charged with crimes against humanity . Specifically, the prosecution accused him of being responsible for murder, rape, inhuman acts as well as persecution and the related death of at least 325 people in Ivory Coast between December 16, 2010 and April 11, 2011 as an " indirect accomplice ".

His trial began on January 28, 2016. Gbagbo, like his former youth minister and militia chief Charles Blé Goudé, who was also accused, declared himself innocent. On January 15, 2019, Gbagbo and Goudé were acquitted of all allegations for lack of evidence and were finally released on February 1, 2019.


Laurent Gbagbo is married to Simone Ehivet and is a member of the Catholic Church . Gbagbo's wife works actively on his party's board of directors.

His most recent books are: 1989, Histoire d'un retour 'History of a Return' , 1991, Agir pour les libertés 'Acting for Freedoms' , and 1995, Le temps de l'espoir 'Time of Hope' .

See also


Web links

Commons : Laurent Gbagbo  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Manfred Bleskin: Ivory Coast: Woe to the vanquished! In: February 19, 2013, accessed February 20, 2013 .
  2. ICC acquits former Ivory Coast strongman Gbagbo. AFP, In:, January 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Spiegel Online : Gbagbo sworn in as President of Ivory Coast , December 4, 2010.
  4. BBC News: 'Hundreds abducted' in Ivory Coast election unrest, accessed December 19, 2010
  5. BBC News: Gbagbo orders peacekeepers to leave Ivory Coast, accessed December 19, 2010
  6. Council Decision 2010/801 / CFSP of December 22, 2010 amending Council Decision 2010/656 / CFSP extending the restrictive measures against Côte d'Ivoire , accessed on May 20, 2018
  7. EU entry ban for President of the Ivory Coast. In: ORF . December 20, 2010, accessed December 20, 2010 .
  8. Die Presse, December 28, 2010
  9. Merle David Kellerhals Jr .: United States Imposes Sanctions On Gbagbo. In: January 7, 2011, accessed June 22, 2011 .
  10. Switzerland blocks Ben Ali accounts in: 20 minutes from January 19, 2011
  11. Link (PDF) Ordinance on measures against certain persons from Côte d'Ivoire. In: from January 19, 2011
  12. Council Decision 2011/18 / CFSP of 14 January 2011 amending Council Decision 2010/656 / CFSP extending the restrictive measures against Côte d'Ivoire , accessed on 20 May 2018
  13. Federal Council has any money from Laurent Gbagbo blocked in Switzerland Press release in: of January 19, 2011
  14. Bloody power struggle in Abidjan from April 1, 2011
  15. cf. "Downfall" is on TV: Gbagbo holed up in the bunker at, April 7, 2011 (accessed April 7, 2011)
  16. cf. UN and French helicopters fire on Gbagbo residence at, April 11, 2011 (accessed November 28, 2013)
  17. French soldiers arrest Gbagbo at (accessed April 11, 2011)
  18. Gbagbo extradited to The Hague. In: ORF . November 30, 2011, accessed November 30, 2011 .
  19. Laurent Gbagbo extradited to The Hague. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . November 30, 2011, accessed November 30, 2011 .
  20. Dominic Johnson : Laurent Gbagbo in The Hague. In: the daily newspaper . November 30, 2011, accessed November 30, 2011 .
  21. The President who refused to resign
  22. ^ International Criminal Court opened the first trial against ex-head of state at, January 28, 2016 (accessed on January 28, 2016).
  23. ICC acquits former Ivory Coast strongman Gbagbo. AFP, In:, January 15, 2019.
  24. ^ Côte d'Ivoire: 30,000 people fled to the Don Bosco Center. In: April 4, 2011, accessed November 8, 2013 (registered subscribers only).
  25. Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo in profile. In: BBC News Africa. November 30, 2011, accessed November 30, 2011 .
  26. Dominic Johnson: Gbagbo's regime falls apart. In: TAZ , April 1, 2011.


  1. For the pronunciation of the letter combination gb in the name, see Labial-velar plosive .