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Pro-Gbagbo officers to be tried

06 September 2012, 10:01

Abidjan - A court in Ivory Coast will from 18 September put on trial about 40 soldiers loyal to the country's former president Laurent Gbagbo, for their alleged role in the post-election violence in 2010 and 2011.

Military prosecutor Ange Kessi said that Brunot Dogbo Ble, a former general who was the commander of the Republican Guard, and about 40 of his colleagues would be tried.

Ble was a key figure in the security apparatus that supported Gbagbo during his years in power. He was arrested by forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara on 15 April last year, four days after Gbagbo himself was captured.

In July, Ble was charged with genocide.

The other soldiers, who are currently being held in Abidjan and in the northern city of Korhogo, have been accused of a range of offences including murder, rape, theft, arbritrary detention, abduction and training militia.

A separate trial of 19 pro-Gbagbo soldiers that had been due to begin on Thursday has been put off until after the larger trial gets underway, said Kessi.

They face offences ranging from murder to threatening the security of the state and public order violations after a series of attacks carried out last month against the Ivorian army that have killed 10 people.

The attacks have brought tensions in Ivory Coast to a level not seen since the December 2010-April 2011 crisis sparked by Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat in the presidential election.

After his capture, Gbagbo was transferred to The Hague and is in custody awaiting trial by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

On Friday, a court in Abidjan jailed Laurent Akoun, a top leader in Gbagbo's party, for six months for disturbing public order, in what his supporters denounced as a political verdict.



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