Simone Gbagbo arrest warrant issued by International Criminal Court


Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone sit on a bed at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan after their arrest on April 11, 2011.



The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, the wife of Ivory Coast's former-President Laurent Gbagbo.

The warrant says that Simone Gbagbo, 63, is wanted "for her individual criminal responsibility as regards the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts committed during the post-election crisis" beginning November 28, 2010, according to CNN. Then-incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo had refused to step down after Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner of the presidency, leading to a standoff that sparked months of violence between supporters of both sides, leaving some 3000 dead.

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Simone and Laurent Gbagbo were arrested in a bunker in April 2011, five months after the election in question, following a UN-backed military assault, reported BBC News. Laurent, 67, was transferred to The Hague one year ago, making him the first former-head of state to appear in the ICC. He has denied any responsibility for the crimes he is charged with.

"Simone Gbagbo was ideologically and professionally very close to her husband … Although unelected, she behaved as the alter ego of her husband, exercising power and taking state decisions," the warrant also said, according to The Guardian. "There are reasonable grounds to believe that the pro-Gbagbo forces who executed the common plan did so in obeying in an almost automatic way orders received from Simone Gbagbo."

Simone is currently being held under house arrest in the northwest city of Odienne, The Guarian noted. The government did no say whether or not it planned to extradite her.