The Abidjan Justice Court on Tuesday opened the trial of Simone Gbagbo, the former First Lady of Ivory Coast.
Mrs Gbagbo, is being charged for “crime against humanity, crimes against prisoners of war” and “crimes against civilians,” all believed to have taken place during the post-election crisis of 2010-2011.
At mid-day, thirty pro-Gbagbo militants gathered outside the Abidjan courthouse to show their support for Mrs Gbagbo.
The trial for the 66 year old is expected to last for a month, and will see the participation of 25 prosecution witnesses.
She is currently serving a sentence of 20 years in prison for endangering state security. A verdict that she unsuccessfully appealed few days ago.
Ivory Coast : Court rejects Simone Gbagbo's appeal against 20-year jail term https://t.co/G34fj3TBfN— africanews (@africanews) May 27, 2016
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Ivorian League of Human Rights (LIDHO) and the Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH), who claim to represent nearly 250 victims, have announced their decision to stay out of the trial.
The decision to hold legal proceedings in Ivory Coast is viewed as a snub to the International Criminal Court after president Ouattara declared in February that he would not send any more Ivorians to the ICC, saying that his country has an operational justice system.
Laurent Gbagbo himself is currently on trial at the ICC for crimes linked to the unrest following the post -election violence.