Former Ivory Coast first lady to be tried in domestic court

[JURIST] Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], will be tried in an Ivory Coast court on charges of crimes against humanity, according to a government statement released Friday. In a special cabinet meeting Friday the government declined [Reuters report] to transfer Simone Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], where she is wanted her alleged crimes. According to an arrest warrant [text, PDF] issued by the ICC, Simone Gbagbo is to be tried, "for her individual criminal responsibility as regards the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts committed during the post-election crisis from 28 November 2010 onwards by the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces ("FDS")." Simone Gbagbo and her husband were arrested in April 2011 and have been held under house arrest since then.

In June judges at the ICC gave prosecutors until November 15 [JURIST report] to develop their evidence against Laurent Gbagbo. Laurent Gbagbo is the first former head of state to come before the court and is charged with crimes relating to the civil war that broke out when he refused to step down after the 2010 election [JURIST news archive]. In April Laurent Gbagbo appeared before [JURIST report] the ICC to determine whether the case against him will proceed to trial. Gbagbo's lawyers urged the court to rule that the ICC does not have jurisdiction, and that Laurent Gbagbo should be tried by the Ivory Coast authorities currently conducting their own investigation. Gbagbo has been accused of crimes against humanity [ICC arrest warrant] including murder, rape and persecution. A 2012 report from the National Commission of Inquiry [official summary, PDF] found both pro-Gbagbo and pro-President Alassane Ouattara forces responsible for serious international crimes.

 

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