ICC unseals arrest warrant against Simone Gbagbo
Wife of former Côte d'Ivoire president wanted for alleged crimes against humanity
Today, 22 November 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed an arrest warrant against Simone Gbagbo, wife of current ICC suspect and former president of Côte d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo. The warrant was originally issued on 29 February 2012. Ms. Gbagbo is accused of the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. This is the first time the ICC has unsealed an arrest warrant against a woman. Ms. Gbagbo is reported to be currently under house arrest in north-west Côte d'Ivoire since April 2011 and is also reportedly set to face trial before a national court for a number of charges, including genocide.
For more information read the ICC press release or the ICC warrant of arrest.
Côte d’Ivoire is one of the seven situations that the ICC is currently investigating. The ICC prosecutor has been examining the situation in Côte d’Ivoire since 2003 in order to determine whether an investigation was warranted, following the submission of a declaration by the Ivorian government recognizing the jurisdiction of the Court. On 14 December 2010, President of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara sent a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor reaffirming the Ivorian government’s acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction. On 4 May 2011, President Ouattara reiterated his wish that the Court open an investigation. After a preliminary examination, the prosecutor concluded that there was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court had been committed in Côte d'Ivoire since 28 November 2010. On 22 February 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber III decided to expand its authorization for the ICC prosecutor’s investigation in Côte d'lvoire to include crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed between 19 September 2002 and 28 November 2010 considering that the violent events in Côte d’Ivoire in this period (including the events since 28 November 2010) are to be treated as a single situation, in which an ongoing crisis involving a prolonged political dispute and power-struggle culminated in the events in relation to which the Chamber earlier authorised an investigation.
Laurent Koudou Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC on 30 November 2011. He made his initial appearance before the Court on 5 December 2011, during which PTC III set the date for the confirmation of charges hearing for 18 June 2012. However, the hearing has been postponed twice. On the first occasion, 12 June, the confirmation of charges hearing was postponed in order to safeguard the fair trial rights of the defense and to ensure that it had adequate time and facilities to prepare its case. On the second occasion, 2 August, the hearing was postponed until a medical evaluation of Mr Gbagbo’s fitness to take part in the case was carried out. On 2 November, judges ruled that Mr Gbagbo was fit to take part in the proceedings and the hearing would be rescheduled. On 26 October, the Appeals Chamber rejected Mr Gbagbo’s appeal challenging a decision denying him interim release.
For more information on the ICC investigation, visit our Côte d’Ivoire webpage.
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The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts. Communications to the ICC can be sent to: ICC, P.O. Box 19519, 2500 CM, The Hague, the Netherlands.
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