Former Prime Minister I. Coast faces war crimes trial in France

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Paris (AFP) – Former Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, a rebel leader before entering politics, faces trial in France for war crimes, torture and murder, AFP lawyers said.

The plaintiffs claim that the case is being filed in France because Soro has lived in the country since 2019.

At the end of last month, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Côte d’Ivoire for embezzlement, money laundering and the purchase of a mansion in the main city of Afidjan, Abidjan, with public funds. .

The Abidjan court fined him almost seven million euros ($ 7.6 million), ordered his home in Abidjan to be confiscated and prevented him from performing his civic duties for five years, which effectively prevents the 47-year-old from running for presidential elections scheduled for October.

Soro denies all of the charges.

The last trial was filed on Thursday, the plaintiffs’ lawyers told AFP.

Soro is accused of having ordered the kidnapping of former rebel leader Ibrahima Coulibaly on April 27, 2011, and his subsequent torture and murder.

The complainants also want Soro to be brought to justice for several deaths which occurred during fighting between rival rebel factions in Côte d’Ivoire in early June 2004 in Bouaké, the second city of Côte d’Ivoire, and the city of Korhogo, in the north of the country.

“After several long years of impunity … the responsibility of the perpetrators, the accomplices and the person who gave orders will finally be exposed,” the lawyers for the plaintiffs Noémie Saidi-Cottier, Laurence Greig and Joseph Breham said in a statement.

Soro called the charges a false accusation and said he was filing a defamation complaint.

Soro helped President Alassane Ouattara take power in 2010 amid political violence that claimed the lives of 3,000 people before becoming Prime Minister and then Speaker of the Parliament.

After falling out with Ouattara, he launched an unsuccessful bid to become president last year.

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