World, Africa

Ivorian ex-first lady relieved as ICC drops arrest warrant

Simone Gbagbo faced charges of crimes against humanity committed during 2010-2011 post-election violence

James Tasamba   | 30.07.2021
Ivorian ex-first lady relieved as ICC drops arrest warrant (First row, L-R) Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

KIGALI, Rwanda

A former first lady of the Ivory Coast will now be able to "travel freely throughout the world," her lawyer said on Friday after the International Criminal Court dropped an arrest warrant for related to post-election violence in 2010-2011.

Simone Gbagbo faced charges of crimes against humanity committed during violence in 2010-2011 in which 3,000 people were killed, according to the UN.

The charges included murder, rape, inhuman acts, and persecution.

However, a court ruling made public on Thursday said: "The chamber considers it appropriate to decide that the warrant of arrest for Simone Gbagbo shall cease to have effect."

"The evidence on which the arrest warrant against Simone Gbagbo was based could no longer be considered sufficient."

"Good news for Madame Simone Gbagbo as she is finally free and can now travel freely throughout the world," her lawyer, Rodrigue Dadje, was quoted by local media as saying on Friday.

The Ivory Coast plunged into post-election violence in 2010, when the Independent Election Commission declared that President Alassane Ouattara had defeated Laurent Gbagbo.

Gbagbo refused to concede defeat, was arrested in April 2011, and sent to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity brought by the International Criminal Court.

The ICC eventually acquitted Gbagbo in 2019, and allowed him to return home after 10 years in incarceration.

While Simone Gbagbo was not handed over to the ICC like her husband, an Ivorian court sentenced her to 20 years in prison in 2015 for allegedly undermining state security.

However, she was freed on Aug. 8, 2018, after a presidential amnesty decision.

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