29 August 2014

Cote d'Ivoire: ICC Asks Abidjan to Boost its Bid to Try Ex-First Lady

Arusha — The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday invited Côte d'Ivoire to file additional material in support of its request to try former First Lady Simone Gbagbo in a national court. The ICC gave Abidjan until October 10 to file additional arguments.

Simone Gbagbo, who is wanted by the ICC, is still detained in Abidjan, whereas her husband, former president Laurent Gbagbo, is in the ICC prison in The Hague, Netherlands.

Abidjan says in its request that judicial proceedings are under way in national courts in the Simone Gbagbo case.

In its decision on Thursday, the ICC asked Côte d'Ivoire for more information on the scope and status of these proceedings.

The ICC was set up to complement national judicial systems. It can only take cases that national authorities are either unwilling or unable to conduct.

Under the Statute of Rome, which is the ICC's founding treaty, a State may challenge the ICC's right to try a case if national proceedings are under way for the same person and for the same alleged crimes.

It is the ICC judges that have the final decision

Simone Gbagbo and her husband were arrested on April 11, 2011, by forces of their rival Alassane Ouattara, who is now the president of Côte d'Ivoire.

On February 29, 2012, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Simone Gbagbo which was first kept under seal and then unveiled in November the same year.

She is suspected of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts.

As in the case of her husband, Simone Gbagbo is accused of crimes committed between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011.

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