Former Ivorian First Lady Denies Involvement in Violence

Simone Gbagbo, Ivory Coast’s former First Lady, has denied her alleged involvement in the violence that followed the 2010 elections in the West African country.

Ms Gbagbo stated this while giving evidence for the first time at her trial in Abidjan.

Her husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hague, Netherlands.

The former President had refused to accept defeat in the presidential elections, sparking months of violence that claimed more than 3,000 lives. “I don’t know exactly what the concrete actions are that I am being accused of,” Mrs Gbagbo said at the hearing.

She also insisted that her husband was the legitimate winner of the elections and not Alassane Ouattara, his opponent who was declared the winner of the poll.

Police had to separate supporters and opponents of Gbagbo as scuffles broke out outside the court premises.

The Ivorian judiciary had resisted pressure to send Ms Gbagbo to the ICC as well, where she is accused of war crimes, saying she and other key suspects should be tried in their homeland.

Ms Gbagbo and more than 80 supporters of her husband have been charged with undermining state security.

Both sides have been accused of atrocities in the bloody clashes that followed the disputed elections.

The Gbagbos were eventually arrested in a bunker in April 2011, five months after the elections, following a military assault supported by UN and French troops.

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