A group of lawyers for Ivory Coast’s former Speaker Guillaume Soro on Tuesday stayed away from a court hearing in Abidjan, involving their client, who is accused of receiving stolen money and money laundering.The defendant’s lawyers alleged that the trial is a “violation” of the judgment made by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Emile Suy Bi, one of Soro’s lawyers told APA that they were not at the trial because they were “not involved in the investigation procedure”.
He said their client, to their knowledge, “has never received notice informing him that there will be a hearing.”
In addition, he said, “the judgment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights clearly asked the state to suspend” the execution of the arrest warrant against Mr. Soro and to await the position of the court on the case.
“This procedure should have been frozen. For us, from the judgment of the African Court, everything that is currently being done is done in violation of the judgment and in particular of the fundamental rights of our client,” Mr. Suy Bi maintained.
In a statement relating to the hearing, and sent to APA, state lawyers claimed the defendant’s team knew about it several weeks before.
This case “is only the logical outcome of the judicial process in which these lawyers actively participated until the order, which referred their client to the Criminal Court of Abidjan,” the state lawyers added.
“The hearing is taking place following a rigorous preliminary investigation phase, during which these lawyers were put in a position to develop, without any restriction or hindrance, their means of defense…and this, despite the non-appearance of the defendant” their statement said.
State lawyers claimed that as part of investigation, the defendant’s team “exploited all the appeals required by the jurisdictional acts taken against their client.”
Mr. Guillaume Soro, a former Speaker of the Ivorian National Assembly, who is currently in France, is being prosecuted over the alleged concealment of the pilfering of public funds to the tune of CFA1.5 billion, and money laundering.