Ivory Coast Refuses to Send Former First Lady to ICC

The government of the Ivory Coast has denied the request of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to surrender its former first lady, Simone Gbabgbo usembassy 2006 cropSimone Gbagbo to the ICC.  A warrant was issued for Simone Gbagbo last year, her husband, former President, Laurent Gbagbo was indicted and surrendered to the ICC following post-election violence.

Ivory Coast had not ratified the treaty when Laurent Gbagbo was in power, but acceded to the court in 2003, reconfirmed ICC authority in 2010, sought the investigation.

Some have portrayed this as a reaction to growing complaints that the ICC has targeted only African cases, but it may be more a reaction to the serious doubts judges have about the case against Laurent Gbagbo.  The pre-trial chamber declined to confirm the charges and instead asked the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to submit further evidence to support the claims.  OTP declined and instead appealed the decision.

Laurent Gbagbo also argued that his case was not admissible and belonged in Ivory Coast.   The pre-trial chamber based its ruling on the OTP’s presentation primarily of “anonymous hearsay evidence” and found that the evidence presented to date had not established Laurent Gbagbo’s role as an “indirect co-perpetrator” of Crimes Against Humanity, including “murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution.”

The case against Simone Gbagbo relies on similar evidence and though she is charged separately, she faces similar, possibly the same allegations.  A warrant of arrest has been issued, but not an indictment, so it is not clear if the accusations are identical or not.

Libya has also refused to turn the two indictees under its control to The Hague.

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