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ICC issues arrest warrant for Ivory Coast's ex-first lady

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 22 Nov 2012 14:31 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Joe Bavier

ABIDJAN, Nov 22 (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the West African nation's post-election crisis last year.

The warrant, which was issued on February 29 but remained sealed until Thursday, alleges that she was "criminally responsible for murder, rape, other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts, and persecution".

A copy of the warrant was seen by Reuters.

Former President Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to accept defeat in a late 2010 election triggered the brief conflict, is already in The Hague awaiting trial on similar charges.

The violence, which pitted soldiers and militias loyal to Gbagbo against United Nations and French-backed fighters supporting current President Alassane Ouattara, killed more than 3,000 people.

The warrant accuses Simone Gbagbo, who is currently in custody in Ivory Coast, of participating in the planning and orchestration of the violence.

"Simone Gbagbo was ideologically and professionally very close to her husband...Although unelected, she behaved as the alter ego of her husband, excercising power and taking state decision," the warrant said.

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