The trial of a top military ally of Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo, the first involving an accused instigator of last year's post-election violence, opened in the commercial capital Abidjan on Tuesday.
General Bruno Dogbo Ble headed the elite Republican Guard during the brief conflict, which killed more than 3,000 people and erupted after Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat to rival Alassane Ouattara in an election in late 2010.
A staunch Gbagbo loyalist, he and four co-defendants are charged with kidnapping, illegal detention, and murder linked to the abduction and killing of Colonel-Major Adama Dosso in March 2011, at the height of the violence.
Tuesday's hearing was adjourned soon after it opened when defence attorneys claimed the military prosecutor violated procedure when taking over the case from a civilian investigating magistrate.
"We're not saying they shouldn't be prosecuted. But we're saying that the procedure was poorly carried out...It was totally illegal," said Mathurin Dirabou, a member of the defence team.