French judge drops warrant for Ivorian Speaker of Parliament

A French judge has dropped his warrant for the arrest of Ivory Coast’s speaker of parliament, Guillaume Soro, according to his lawyers.

The judge lifted the warrant following proof he is on official business in Paris, giving him diplomatic immunity.

The arrest warrant was for not turning up to a 2012 Paris court case brought by the ex-Ivorian president’s son.

Michel Gbagbo accuses Mr Soro’s forces of kidnapping and torturing him, which he denies.

Mr Soro commanded a rebel force which fought the ex-president.

Michel Gbabo claims he was kidnapped after the capture of his father, Laurent, in 2011.

He was able to bring the case to a French court because he has dual French and Ivorian citizenship.

Mr Soro had travelled to France to attend the UN climate summit COP21 when the arrest warrant was issued.

Ivory Coast’s Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby said he had written to the French government to protest that the warrant breached international law, and should be annulled.

The parliamentary speaker is one of only a handful of people facing investigation from the current President Ouattara’s side of the conflict.

Hundreds on Mr Gbagbo’s side have been investigated, something rights organisations have called one-side justice.

These include Laurent Gbabgo, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes – charges he denies.

Some 3,000 people were killed in the five-month conflict in Ivory Coast sparked by Mr Gbagbo’s refusal to admit defeat to Mr Ouattara in 2010 elections.

 Source: BBC

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