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War crimes trial of Gbagbo's wife slated for May 31 in Abidjan

War crimes trial of Gbagbo's wife slated for May 31 in Abidjan

Ivory Coast

Former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo’s trial for war crimes will begin on May 31, 2016, according to the opening session of the Assizes court in Abidjan on Monday.

Mrs Gbagbo is before the court for her role in the post election crisis of 2010-2011.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague had also pressed similar charges against her, with the trial also reopened on Monday.

Her lawyers have however denounced the Abidjan case as a political trial. The jury comprises 95% of judges from the northern region which was hit worst by the crisis.

Simone Gbabgo’s lawyer Rodrigue Dadje said: “Since Ivorians want Mrs Gbagbo condemned, this Assize Court which was custom chosen, will not deliver fair judgement. It will only condemn. The goal for us today is to have Mrs Gbagbo who is a political figure, explain in front of the Ivorian population and demonstrate that she has no connection with these accusations.’‘

The case was brought to the court by civil parties, their lawyer demanded justice for the victims.

“For the victims I still expect justice to prevail, I hope the law will rule in favour of the victims who have suffered so much,’‘ said Soungalo Coulibaly, lawyer of the civil party.

More than 3,000 people died during the post-election violence that lasted 5 months.