22 November 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: ICC Unveils Arrest Warrant Against Simone Gbagbo

Photo: http://www.simonegbagbo.com/
Simone Gbagbo, wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

The Hague — Judges of the International Criminal Court today decided to unseal an arrest warrant for crimes against humanity against the former First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire, Simone Gbagbo, according to an ICC press statement.

The warrant of arrest, initially issued under seal on February 29, 2012, says Mrs. Gbagbo is responsible for crimes against humanity including murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence committed between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011. She is also accused of persecution and other inhumane acts during the widespread violence at that time.

The violence came after elections when both her husband Laurent Gabgbo and Alassane Ouattara declared themselves president.

The arrest warrant says that pro-Gbagbo forces "targeted civilians they believed were supporters of Alassane Ouattara". It says Simone Gbagbo was "ideologically and professionally very close to her husband" and participated in a plan to keep her husband in power. "Although not elected, Ms Gbagbo acted as an alter ego for her husband, exercising the power to make State decisions," it says.

In addition, the arrest warrant says Simone Gbagbo "instructed the pro-Gbagbo forces to commit crimes against individuals who posed a threat to her husband's power" and that she "exercised joint control over the crimes by having the power to control and give instructions directly to the youth militia".

Former president Laurent Gbagbo is currently in jail at the ICC also accused of crimes against humanity committed during the violence. After he was unseated, he was detained in April 2011 by the new government of Alassane Ouattara and transferred to the ICC in November 2011. His transfer came shortly after the ICC unveiled an arrest warrant against him.

Simone Gbagbo is also detained in northern Côte d'Ivoire by the new authorities. According to Agence France-Presse, the ICC has asked its Registry to prepare for her transfer to The Hague.

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