Judges at the International Criminal Court have acquitted former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and former youth minister Charles Ble Goude of crimes committed following disputed elections in 2010, saying prosecutors failed to prove their case.

In a stunning blow to prosecutors, Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser ordered the immediate release of the 73-year-old Gbagbo and Ble Goude, following the judgment midway through their trial.

Tarfusser said Tuesday that a majority of the three-judge chamber ruled that “the prosecutor has failed to satisfy the burden of proof” against both men.

Lawyers for Gbagbo and Ble Goude asked judges last year to acquit both men for lack of evidence at the end of the prosecution case in their trial that began just under three years ago.

Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
A supporter of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo wears a t-shirt reading
A supporter of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo wears a t-shirt reading “Gbagbo Is Coming Soon” during a rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo rally outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)

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