Former President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo has been declared worthy of seeking the Ivorian presidency.
The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled on Friday rejecting Gbagbo’s exclusion from the presidential elections slated for October 31.
The Ivorian electoral commission had said that Mr. Gbagbo was not fit to stand for president due to criminal conviction.
Mr. Gbagbo was sentenced in absentia in November 2019 for the “looting” of the Central Bank of West African States.
He was convicted of the crime following a disputed 2010 election that resulted in brief civil war.
Gbagbo’s name was removed from the electoral list according to the electoral commission because of this conviction.
The African court however ordered that Ivory Coast takes “all necessary measures to immediately remove all obstacles” hindering Gbagbo’s participation in the presidential election.
Gbagbo is currently in exile in Belgium because the government has refused to grant him necessary documents to return home.
His candidacy bid was filed by his supporters on his behalf and the electoral commission said lack of his signature on the documents further worsens his chances.
But the African court considered the Ivorian Constitutional Council’s reasoning to disqualify Gbagbo inamissible.
The Court also ordered the Ivorian state to “suspend the mention of the criminal conviction of the criminal record” of Gbagbo.
Similar ruling was also made relating to the candidacy of former rebel leader and former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, whose candidacy was also rejected by the Constitutional Council due to a court conviction.
Gbagbo lives in Belgium after being acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Court last year.
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara was cleared by the constitutional court to seek a third term in office.
President Ouattara, 76 who has been in office since 2011 had announced that he would not be seeking a third term in office, saying he wanted the new generation to take over.
But the man who was picked to run on the ticket of the ruling party, Prime Minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly suddenly died.
The opposition has said that Ouattara’s decision to run again violates the two-term limit in the constitution.