The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday unsealed [ICC press release] an arrest warrant [text, PDF] for Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Pursuant to the warrant, Simone Gbagbo is accused of committing crimes against humanity during Ivory Coast’s post-election crisis in 2010 - 2011. She is accused of planning and implementing a plan that involved murder, sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution in collaboration with her husband and other government officials. According to the arrest warrant:
Although not elected, Ms Gbagbo acted as an alter ego for her husband, exercising the power to make State decisions. Ms Gbagbo was also close to other members of Mr Gbagbo's inner circle who were involved in the implementation of the Common Plan. Moreover, at meetings or public gatherings during the post-election crisis, Ms Gbagbo expressed her support for the Common Plan, and instructed the pro-Gbagbo forces to commit crimes against individuals who posed a threat to her husband's power.This is the first time [AP report] in the ICC's history that it has charged a female.
The violence that followed the 2010 election claimed approximately 3,000 lives. Gbagbo's rival President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was declared the winner of the 2010 election and is now president. At the beginning of this month, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC found Laurent Gbagbo fit to stand trial [JURIST report]. In October, the ICC denied Gbagbo's motion asking the court for allowance to leave [JURIST report] the Netherlands while he recovers from alleged maltreatment received while detained by national authorities in the Ivory Coast before being surrendered to the ICC [JURIST report] in November. The court denied Gbagbo's leave request upon a determination that he posed a flight risk. In August the ICC dismissed a jurisdiction challenge [JURIST report] by Gbagbo, ruling that the court has the authority to hear the case. The court first postponed Gbagbo's confirmation of charges hearing in June, after his lawyers asked the court more time to prepare [JURIST reports], complaining that they did not have enough resources to build their case in the amount of time given. Gbagbo's original hearing date was set [JURIST report] in December during his pre-trial hearing in ICC Pre-Trial Chamber III.