(Bloomberg) -- The International Criminal Court ruled that former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo will remain in custody pending an appeal against his acquittal on charges of crimes against humanity.

Judges gave the prosecution until Jan. 23 to file their appeal, The Hague-based court said on its website Friday. The ruling also applies to militant youth leader Charles Ble Goude, whose case was joint to Gbagbo’s in 2015.

Gbagbo’s surprise acquittal on Tuesday after seven years of detention paves the way for his return to the West African nation that’s due to hold presidential elections next year. Ivory Coast charged him and his wife Simone in 2011 with committing economic crimes including aggravated theft and attacking the national economy. Simone was pardoned by President Alassane Ouattara last year after being convicted to 20 years in prison.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katarina Hoije in Abidjan at khoije@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Karl Maier at kmaier2@bloomberg.net, Pauline Bax, Hilton Shone

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