Judges at the International Criminal Court have ordered Ivory Coast to hand over Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is in The Hague awaiting trial.
Simone Gbagbo is accused of crimes against humanity. Ivory Coast has refused to hand her over, saying it was already investigating her on charges similar to the ICC’s in a domestic court.
“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 on Thursday.
Judges also committed for trial Charles Ble Goude, Laurent Gbagbo’s close associate. The three are accused of taking their country to the brink of civil war rather than relinquishing power after Gbagbo lost the 2010 presidential election to current leader Alassane Ouattara.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the violence preceding Gbagbo’s ouster from power.
In October the government announced it was postponing Simone’s 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, arguing that its courts will 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.