Ivory Coast should hand former first lady over to International Criminal Court
Trial of Simone Gbagbo in Abidjan is going ahead in defiance of ICC
Amnesty International has called for the authorities in Ivory Coast to hand former first lady Simone Gbagbo over to the International Criminal Court in relation to her alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during serious post-election violence in the country in 2010-2011.
Gbagbo is set to go on trial today in Abidjan on charges of crimes against humanity during the violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed after her husband Laurent Gbagbo refused to relinquish power following an election defeat.
Amnesty is insisting that the Ivorian authorities reconsider their refusal to comply with their obligation to surrender Simone Gbagbo to the ICC pursuant to an arrest warrant issued against her on 22 February 2012.
The former first lady has been charged by the ICC with murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts and in 2014 an ICC Pre-Trial Chamber rejected a challenge by Ivory Coast against the admissibility of the case, which was confirmed on appeal in 2015. However, the Ivorian authorities have thus far refused to surrender her to the ICC. Meanwhile, Simone Gbagbo’s husband - the former president Laurent Gbagbo - and Charles Blé Goudé, an ally of Gbagbo’s and leader of a militant youth group, are currently on trial before the ICC for crimes against humanity in relation to the post-election violence.
Simone Gbagbo was herself previously convicted and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment on 10 March 2015 on charges of participation in an insurrectional movement, conspiracy against the state and disturbing public order.
Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher Gaëtan Mootoo said:
“Unless Ivory Coast applies to the International Criminal Court to again challenge the admissibility of her case they must immediately surrender Simone Gbagbo to the ICC.
“If the domestic trial continues, Ivory Coast must ensure its proceedings comply with international human rights law standards, including the right to a fair trial. Ivory Coast must show the world it is serious about delivering post-conflict justice to victims of all crimes.”
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