ICC says Simone Gbagbo must be tried in The Hague

11th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

The International Criminal Court on Thursday rejected the Ivory Coast's request to try former first lady Simone Gbagbo at home, demanding again that she be handed over.

"Today the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire's challenge to the admissibility of the case against Simone Gbagbo," the ICC said in a statement issued in The Hague.

The ICC, the world's only permanent independent body to try the worst crimes, reminded the Ivory Coast of "its obligation to surrender Simone Gbagbo to the Court without delay."

Two years ago the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, 65, over suspected crimes against humanity, charges which her husband and former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo is also facing.

Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat after presidential polls in late 2010 sparked a bloody five-month stand-off in the restive west African country in which some 3,000 people died, according to the United Nations.

Both Simone Gbagbo and her husband were arrested in April 2011 as the fighting ended and Laurent Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC in The Hague seven months later.

His trial is set for July next year.

But the Ivory Coast said it would put Simone Gbagbo, also known as the "Iron Lady", on trial at home for genocide.

In October the Ivorian government announced it was postponing her trial but it did not give a date.

Simone Gbagbo has been in jail in Ivory Coast since the end of the crisis but the government has repeatedly refused to hand her to the ICC, where she is wanted for crimes against humanity, arguing that its courts guarantee a fair trial.

The ICC works on a complementarity basis to national courts of its member states.

It will only step in if countries themselves are unable or unwilling to put suspected perpetrators on trial.

"After a thorough assessment... the Chamber concluded that the Cote d'Ivoire domestic authorities were not taking tangible, concrete and progressive steps aimed at ascertaining whether Simone Gbagbo is criminally responsible for the same conduct that is alleged before the ICC," the judges said.

© 2014 AFP

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