Ivory Coast former first lady loses final appeal against trial

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Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo is set to go on trial on charges of crimes against humanity after the country's supreme court on Thursday rejected the latest appeal by her lawyers.

"The court... has decided to reject the withdrawal called for by Madame Simone Gbagbo against the decision of March 17, 2016," the judge said at the public hearing.

Gbagbo's lawyer, Rodrigue Dadje, said he was "terribly disappointed... The supreme court has delivered a political decision.

"The consequence is that Madame Gbagbo will go on trial for crimes of violence probably in early May".

Nicknamed the "Iron Lady", the 66-year-old had already been sentenced to 20 years in jail last year for "attacking state authority" for her role in violence which followed elections in 2010 which her husband Laurent Gbagbo lost.

She is the subject of a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague which accuses her of a key role in the post-election violence which left more than 3,000 people dead.

However, the government refused to transfer her and instead, she was judged by an Ivorian court, with her sentence handed down in March last year.

Her husband went on trial at the ICC in January along with his former militia chief as the court investigates the post-election violence.

In January she was additionally indicted in Abidjan on charges of crimes against humanity.

The supreme court on March 17 had rejected an initial appeal to drop the latest charges, on the grounds that her lawyers were late filing their submission.

The lawyers then challenged that decision, but the supreme court ruled definitively on Thursday.