By Emmanuel Kendemeh
The former First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire is on the second week of trial in Abidjan.
Soungalo Coulibaly, the prosecutor handling the Ivoirian First Lady, Simone Gbagbo’s case charged for her alleged role in the October 2010 post-election violence says, “If she is found guilty, she will get 20 years to life imprisonment because we are talking about a crime against state security.”
The trial of Simone Gbagbo along with 82 civilian and military supporters of her husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, started on December 26, 2014, continued in Abidjan on Monday, December 29 and is likely to last for at least a month, Reuters reported.
The nine jurors handling the case have to find facts that justify the accusations that Simone Gbagbo and the 82 other co-accused people helped her husband to steal an election that he lost in 2010 and resisting efforts to dislodge him in a civil war that followed. Laurent Gbagbo was driven from the presidency in April 2011 and replaced by the winner of the October 2010 vote, Alassane Ouattara. Some 3,000 people died from the post-election violence. Defence lawyer Rodrigue Dadje dismissed the charges, stating that, “It is only a political attack against her,” The Voice of America reported.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) also requested the government of Côte d’Ivoire to hand over Simone Gbagbo for trial on alleged charges of crimes against humanity in connection with the October 2010 post-election violence.
Côte d’Ivoire however, refused the request, arguing that she should be tried in a domestic court. Laurent Gbagbo and an associate, Charles Ble Goude, are being held in the Netherlands pending trial at the ICC on charges including crimes against humanity. At the end of the violence that followed the election, Simone Gbagbo was caught and put under house arrest in the north of Côte d’Ivoire. She was only brought to Abidjan this month for the trial.
In another development, a court on Monday, December 29 rejected the candidature of former President Laurent Gbagbo at the head of his party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).