International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

An Abobo Resident in Court: “We Were Bombed Every Day”

The hearing of  December 4 in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was marked by the testimony of Sira Dramé, an Abobo City Councilor during the post-election crisis.

City council member and Political Commissioner of the Rally of Republicans (RDR) in Abobo, Sira Dramé faced the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Monday, December 4, 2017 to testify in the joint trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé.

Born in 1970 in Adjamé and a dyer by profession, Alassane Ouattara’s party activist described in her testimony the atmosphere in Côte d’Ivoire’s most populated commune at the time of the crisis.

According to her, Abobo was a difficult area for RDR supporters. “During the second round elections, we people from the North were not comfortable because LMP youths [a coalition favorable to Laurent Gbagbo] said that a Mossi cannot govern the country. We could not even wear boubous for fear of being attacked,” she said.

The prosecution witness also said that the commune neighborhoods were regularly the target of “bombing.”

“Every one of God’s days people bombed us. Our ‘good morning’ was bombing. In the evening…we were bombed, in the morning people launched shells in a haphazard way. This was later, from February, from March to April until Mr. Gbagbo was arrested. People fired mortar bombs into our neighborhood. Abobo was almost empty,” she testified.

Sira Dramé, who also wears the cap of first person in charge of the “Collective of the victims of the 2004 events, also gave her version of the facts that occurred on March 3, 2011 during the Abobo women’s march.

That day, according to her, she was one of the organizers of this march and her job was to galvanize the protesters.

“Suddenly, I saw the women applauding. And when I saw the women applauding, they were looking to their left, which meant my right. When I looked right, I saw a tank coming. On the tank, I saw a white flag. It was because of the white flag that the women applauded because for us, people came to secure the march. The tank was followed by a cargo vehicle. To our surprise, a few seconds after their passage, we heard mortar bombs being fired. When I heard two shots; there was a stampede. Every one sought refuge somewhere. From the Banco roundabout to the Providence pharmacy, all shops were closed. There was only one courtyard and all the women wanted to get into it. I fell down and fainted. A few minutes later I came to, and I heard the women yelling in Malinké ‘Oh God, they’ve killed the women’,” said the witness with emotion.

Sira Dramé’s testimony will continue tomorrow, December 5.

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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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