Amnesty International tasks Ivorian authorities to release former first lady to face trial

Amnesty International has called on authorities in Ivory Coast to reconsider their decision and surrender the country’s former first lady Simone Gbagbo before the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

Simone Gbagbo was set to go on trial yesterday in Abidjan on charges of crimes against humanity relating to the post-election violence in 2010 and 2011, but authorities in Abidjan refused to comply with their obligation to surrender her to the International Criminal Court (ICC) which issued an arrest warrant against her on charges of crimes against humanity, Amnesty Intentional said in a statement.

Mrs. Gbagbo was alleged to be involved in killings of “over 1,000 people in the violence that ensued when her husband Laurent Gbagbo refused to relinquish power after losing an election”

“Unless Côte d’Ivoire applies to the International Criminal Court to again challenge the admissibility of her case they must immediately surrender Simone Gbagbo to the ICC,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher for Amnesty International.

Amnesty International says “If the domestic trial continues, Côte d’Ivoire must ensure its proceedings comply with international human rights law standards, including the right to a fair trial. Côte d’Ivoire must show the world it is serious about delivering post-conflict justice to victims of all crimes”.

Mrs. Gbagbo who was previously convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on charges of “participation in an insurrectional movement, conspiracy against the State, and disturbing public order”, was also charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts. An arrest warrant was issued against her on 22 February 2012.

Her husband, the former President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, an ally of Gbagbo’s and leader of a militant youth group, are currently on trial before the ICC for crimes against humanity in relation to the post-election violence, when he insisted not to relinquish power despite losing an election.