International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

A Victim of the Siaka Koné Market Bombing in Front of the Judges

After several closed sessions, the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé was held this Wednesday, November 29, in open court. The court, presided over by Judge Cuno Tarfusser, heard the testimony of Ouattara Fanta about the events in Abobo.

Born in 1973 in Abobo, Ouattara Fanta, witness number 105 was this Wednesday, November 29, before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Faced with the court presided over by the Italian judge Cuno Tarfusser, the shopkeeper explained that she was a victim of the Siaka Koné market bombing which reportedly took place in Abobo on March 17, 2011.

“I’ve been in pain since this injury,” said the witness, who added that to this day she still had “a bullet fragment” in her body. “I suffered for a long time. For almost two years at home I was unable to work,” she added.

The tearful Ouattara Fanta who was questioned in depth by Laurent Gbagbo’s defense, returned to the details of the incident.

“We were sitting, chatting and suddenly we heard a noise. We then started running to leave the premises. We left everything on the spot. I only took the money from what we sold (sic), and we fled. There was a court yard next to the place. I wanted to go home but I heard a second noise, and I was hurt. Then I lost consciousness was taken to hospital,” she said.

In addition to the Siaka Koné market bombing, Ouattara Fanta was questioned about another key incident of this trial: the March 3, 2011 women’s march.

There again, with tears in her eyes, she said she lost Bamba Machani a.k.a. ” Mimi”, one of her “market friends” in this march.

“I did not know there was a march. It was the same day at the market that the women were saying “let’s go do a march.” But, since I do not like that kind of thing, I did not go. I told them I wasn’t interested. In addition, I was afraid…I saw a tank driving past in the morning at the Siaka Koné market. We did not hear any shots. We were at the market and we saw people running and coming towards the market. Ten to 15 minutes after the passage of the tank I saw people running and coming saying ‘they killed the women’ …They said to me ‘your comrade has been killed.’ When they told me the news I was lost. I saw Mimi’s body,” said the 44-year-old witness.

Before the court, the prosecution witness also said that one of her sons was shot and wounded during the post-election events at PK 18. According to her, it was after a football match with his friends that the young man was hit.

It should be emphasized that Ouattara Fanta said she was approached by “an agent from Abobo Town Hall,” so she could receive support as a victim. “We were told to come and register at the City Hall. We went there, but nothing,” she said.

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Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are charged with four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, and other inhumane acts, or – in the alternative – attempted murder and persecution. The accused allegedly committed these crimes during post-electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011.

This summary comes from Ivoire Justice, which offers monitoring and commentary on the ICC’s proceedings arising from the post-election violence that occurred in Cote d’Ivoire in 2010-2011. It has been translated into English for use on International Justice Monitor.

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