ICC judges rule wife of ex-Ivory Coast leader Gbagbo must face Hague trial

– Judges at the International Criminal Court on Thursday said Ivory Coast must hand over Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is in The Hague awaiting trial.

Simone Gbagbo, wife of Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo, gestures during the opening ceremony of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the country's indepedence, at the presidential palace in Abidjan January 31, 2010.  REUTERS/Luc Gnago
Simone Gbagbo, wife of Ivory Coast’s President Laurent Gbagbo, gestures during the opening ceremony of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the country’s indepedence, at the presidential palace in Abidjan January 31, 2010. CREDIT: REUTERS/LUC GNAGO

It also committed another close associate for trial.

All three are accused of plunging the country into a brief civil war, in which 3,000 people died, rather than relinquish Gbagbo’s grip on power after he lost the 2010 presidential elections to current leader Alassane Ouattara.

Laurent Gbagbo and youth leader Charles Ble Goude are in the ICC’s seaside detention center, but Ivory Coast has refused to hand over Simone Gbagbo, saying it will try her on charges of genocide in a domestic court.

The ICC is not allowed to try cases if domestic authorities are doing the job — but judges said Ivory Coast was not trying her for the same crimes.

If Ivory Coast continues to refuse, judges could refer the matter to the court’s 122 member states, who could then decide to impose sanctions. 

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