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Ivory Coast must urgently surrender former President's wife to the ICC

- Murder, rape other forms of sexual violence included in charges against Simone Gbagbo

Ivory Coast must immediately transfer Simone Gbagbo to The Hague for an investigation into her alleged role in crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said after the International Criminal Court (ICC) revealed it had an outstanding warrant for her arrest.

On Thursday the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant it had issued for Gbagbo in February of this year, on four counts of crimes against humanity during post-election violence in 2010 – murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and other inhumane acts and persecution. Her husband, former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, was transferred to the ICC last November after the Court issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of crimes against humanity.

In the ICC arrest warrant, Simone Gbagbo – known to have been under official house arrest as of last month in Odienné in northern Ivory Coast – is accused of being an indirect co-perpetrator in these crimes and is described as her husband’s "alter ego".

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Law and Policy Tawanda Hondora said:

“When the Ivorian authorities transferred Laurent Gbagbo to face investigation at the ICC, it was a key step towards addressing impunity for past abuses in Ivory Coast.

“Now Simone Gbagbo must also be transferred to the ICC without delay to ensure full cooperation with the Prosecutor’s investigation, and the transfer must be conducted in line with the procedures set out in the Rome Statute.”

Since October 2011, the ICC has been investigating crimes under international law committed in Ivory Coast during post-election violence between pro-Gbagbo and pro-Alassane Outtara forces a year earlier. Amnesty has repeatedly called upon national authorities and the ICC Prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by both sides which the organisation documented since 2002.

While both sides have been accused of crimes, the ICC arrest warrants focus on alleged crimes by the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces and youth militias and mercenaries who were loyal to President Gbagbo.

Tawanda Hondora added:

“Justice must be delivered to victims on all sides. This means that both the ICC and Ivorian justice system must fully investigate possible suspects on both sides and address the full range of crimes, including sexual violence.”

Notes to the Editor

Ivory Coast is not a state party to the Rome Statute which set up the ICC, but granted the Court jurisdiction over crimes under international law that were committed in the country since 2002.

Amnesty International continues to urge Ivory Coast to ratify the Rome Statute, implement it fully in national law and conduct full investigations into alleged crimes on all sides from 2002-2010.

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