Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Jan. 15, 2019.
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Jan. 15, 2019.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber granted a prosecution request that ex-Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo remains in custody until a new hearing in February, the court said Friday in a statement.  

Earlier this week, judges acquitted Gbagbo and a top aide, Charles Ble Goude, of crimes against humanity stemming from 2010 election violence.

Prosecutors immediately appealed Tuesday's verdict and argued the pair may refuse to return to The Hague for trial if the not guilty verdict was overturned.

The three-judge panel called the prosecution's case "exceptionally weak."

ICC Orders Ex-Ivory Coast President to Remain in Custody

Gbagbo lost to his bitter rival, current President Alassane Outtara, but refused to concede. The standoff led to violence that killed 3,000 people and sent thousands of others fleeing the country for their lives.

Opponents and prosecutors blamed Gabgbo and Ble Goude for the deadly unrest. But the three-judge panel ruled Tuesday there was not enough evidence they were responsible to convict the pair.

Gbagbo's daughter told reporters her father planned to return to Ivory Coast when he was finally released.

But if he went back, he would face 20 years in prison on charges of misusing funds from a West African central bank.

An Ivorian court convicted him in absentia last year, but the government has not said if it will enforce the sentence.