Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lawyers Of Former First Lady Of Ivory Coast On Trial Walk Out Of Proceedings

Lawyers of Simone Gbagbo, the former first lady of Ivory Coast who is on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, have walked out of the proceedings in Abidjan.

They are angry at the court's refusal to allow them to call politicians and other prominent officials as witnesses.

These include the current parliamentary speaker and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro and former army chief army Philipe Mangou, Jeune Afrique newspaper reports.


Mrs Gbagbo is on trial for her role in the deadly violence that followed disputed polls in 2010. More than 3,000 people were killed in the four months of clashes. She denies the charges.

She was an influential voice in the camp of her husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo. He had refused to admit defeat after losing the presidential election to now President Alassane Ouattara.

Her trial has been suspended many times over procedural issues and only resumed a week ago.

Dohora Blede, one of the lawyers defending Mrs Gbagbo is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying:

We are suspending our participation until further notice. The process is biased, the court does not want a fair trial.

We noticed that our witnesses were not present - we have asked for a delay of four days to see these people, who are indispensable for demonstrating the truth."

Mr Gbagbo is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for similar charges, which he denies.

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