Simone Gbagbo verdict could aggravate Ivorian political tensions, experts say

23 March 2015 by Christin Roby, Abidjan (Ivory Coast)

The 20-year prison sentence handed to former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo in Abidjan’s case against her and 82 others for undermining state security is being met with intense scrutiny. Though a victory to some, many Ivorians are unsatisfied.

Urban life in Ivory Coast (Photo: Flickr/Guillaume Mignot)
Image caption: 
Urban life in Ivory Coast (Photo: Flickr/Guillaume Mignot)

Gbagbo’s verdict, issued on 10 March, punishes her role in the 2010 post-election crisis in Ivory Coast, where she was accused of organizing armed gangs and disturbing public order. Her husband refused to accept defeat to current President Alassane Ouattara, leading to a five-month civil war that left over 3,000 dead.
 
Some locals felt a sense of closure after the ruling. Yoboueblesso resident Claude Lydie, 43, attended the trial [IJT-174] nearly every day since it opened on 26 December 2014. She claimed pro-Gbagbo militia killed many in her village during the crisis. “We have bled, we have been bruised, and that is why I came,” Lydie said, “to see that justice is served. Nothing done here will bring back our people, but Mrs. Gbabgo got what she deserved for killing our family.”

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