The Ivorian government spokesperson, Amadou Coulibaly, announced on Thursday (Nov. 23) that Guillaume Soro, the former Prime Minister in exile for four years, has the liberty to return to his country. However, Coulibaly emphasized that the enforcement of Soro’s convictions in Côte d’Ivoire would be decided by the country’s justice system.
“Guillaume Soro can return whenever he wants; indeed, the country is open,” stated Coulibaly after a Cabinet meeting.
Highlighting the jurisdiction of the Ivorian judicial administration, Coulibaly affirmed that the justice system would oversee the implementation of the prison sentences handed to Soro.
“The means have been established by President Alassane Ouattara so that all those who self-exiled could return,” Coulibaly assured, noting the return of other exiled individuals and their participation in political gatherings.
Guillaume Soro, once the leader of the rebellion that controlled the northern part of Côte d’Ivoire in the early 2000s and later served as Prime Minister and President of the National Assembly, recently announced his intention to end his exile and return to Africa nearly two weeks ago.
Soro left Côte d’Ivoire in 2019 following a rift with the current President, Alassane Ouattara. In 2020, he was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison for “complicity in embezzlement of public funds” in Côte d’Ivoire. Subsequently, a year later, he received a life sentence for “endangering the security of the State.”
Even before Soro’s 2021 conviction, President Ouattara had expressed his stance, declaring it would result in “life imprisonment.”
During his exile, Soro resided in various countries, including France, Belgium, Dubai, and Asia. Since his return to Africa, Soro has held meetings with military figures, General Abdourahamane Tiani in Niger and Captain Ibrahim Traoré in Burkina Faso, both of whom assumed power through coups in July last year and September 2022, respectively.