Simone Gbagbo: Once again brought to Court

The wife of the former President of the Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo is facing the charge of crimes against humanity

June 01st, 2016

Already incarcerated for 20 years on charges of ‘breaching the states security’, Simone Gbagbo has once again been reprimanded to court. She is facing several charges including crimes against humanity, crimes against war prisoners, crimes against civil populations to name just a few. She is accused of these crimes for the actions she allegedly committed during the 2010-1011 post electoral crisis, which saw opposing Gbagbo forces and the forces of the current President Outtara clash causing the death of more than 3000 Ivorian. Almost 25 witnesses are ready to testify and give evidence against the wife of the former President of the Ivory Coast. 

For several hours, Simone Gbagbo’s attorneys contested the ability of the court to judge their client arguing that she can’t be judged for crimes against humanity or war crimes committed in 2011 because those charges were only added to the Ivorian Penal Code in 2015. Moreover, Simone Gbagbo chose to plead not guilty of any of the charges she is facing as one of her attorneys stated that the charges were totally made up to please the international community.

The hardest part for the prosection will be to provide proof linking Simone Gbagbo to the murders, rapes and other violent transactions which were carried out by her husbands forces. The former president is also currently facing the charges of crimes against humanity before the International Penal Court of La Hay. This court is also eager to prosecute Simone Gbagbo who has so far managed to avoid extradition. Simone Gbagbo still maintains some support in the country and was welcomed by some cheers when entering the court in order to show support for the woman known as the ‘Iron Lady’ of the Ivory Coast.

This trial is causing some mixed feelings among the observers and its participants. On the one hand, some human rights organisations decided to withdraw themselves from the trial because their attorneys couldn’t have access to all of the files of the trial and were unable to attend all the steps of the procedure. However, on the other hand, some are more optimistic, the organisation Human Rights Watch who considers this trial as a potential turning point for the Ivorian justice if the victims are allowed a fair trial and if it is followed by other trials against the authors of human rights violations during the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011. This last wish may be hard to attain as none of the pro-Ouattara leaders have been brought to court even though they were also found guilty of crimes during the crisis, which led some commentators to point out that there is a ‘justice of the winners’.







Cultural Diplomacy News
Pierre Even, CD News