Former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo risks a life sentence for her trial on crimes against humanity charges.
The prosecutor of the Abidjan court trying her proposed a life sentence for Mrs Gbagbo on Tuesday when the final verdict was expected to be delivered, although the accused and her assigned lawyers were absent, as they have been calling for a fresh resumption of the hearings.
The wife of the former Ivorian president is suspected of having played a central role in the 2010-2011 post-election crisis, which left more than 3,000 dead. The “Iron Lady”, as the Ivorians call her, is accused of having participated in meetings leading to murders, rape and acts of persecution committed within Ivorian territories.
“For us we want her to be sentenced, even after reparations from both to the State of Ivory Coast and individuals. Wer’e now going into the secret deliberation by the Assize Court, who will deliver verdict according to their intimate conviction.It’s up to them to make an informed verdict otherwise we will appeal,“Said Soungalo Coulibaly, the civil party lawyer.
According to the prosecutor, Mrs Gbagbo headed of a crisis cell, a key decision-making body on the security apparatus, according to documents confisticated from them following their arrest on September 11, 2011. These documents testify that she made contact and responded to arms dealers who offered her purchases of weapons and combat helicopters.
She is already serving a 20-year prison sentence for “assault on state security”. Her husband is being tried at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity committed during the 2010-2011 Ivorian crisis.