By Maxence Peniguet and Clara Sanchiz
After three years of proceedings, the ICC has again ruled that Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo, should be transferred to The Hague. In a judgement delivered on 27 May, the Appeals Chamber rejected Ivory Coast’s appeal, challenging the admissibility of the case. (Article continues after the timeline.)
Simone Gbagbo timeline (Clara Sanchiz/Ivoire Justice)
Ivory Coast was trying to block Simone Gbagbo’s transfer, arguing that the Ivorian government was already dealing with the case. But the Appeals Chamber agreed with the Pre-Trial judges. According to them, the Ivorian government has not started serious proceedings regarding the former first lady’s alleged involvement in committing crimes against humanity.
A final appeal possible
Can the Ivory Coast still contest Simone Gbagbo’s transfer to The Hague? The answer is yes. Under Article 19 of the Rome Statute, “the admissibility of a case or the jurisdiction of the Court may be challenged only once”. It goes on to say, “in exceptional circumstances, the Court may grant leave for a challenge to be brought more than once”.
Reaction from the Office of the Prosecutor
Speaking by phone, Pascal Turlan of the OTP said the prosecutor wants to try Simone Gbagbo for crimes against humanity at the ICC. He expects the Ivory Coast to hand Simone Gbagbo over to the Court. It’s the only time up until now that the Ivorian government has not cooperated with international judicial officials.
Representative of the victims’ reaction
The Representative of the Victims in the Simone Gbagbo case, Paolina Massidda, also seemed to agree with the Appeals Chamber’s ruling. “We are satisfied,” she said over the phone on behalf of her team. For the victims she represents, the case in Ivory Coast did not deal with crimes against humanity, and they want her to be transferred to The Hague.
We tried to contact the Ivorian lawyers, who were not present at yesterday’s public hearing, but they have not yet reacted. Sylvia Geraghty, Simone Gbagbo’s lawyer, said she didn’t want to make a statement until she had read the Appeals Chamber’s judgement in full.
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This article was originally published in French on our sister site, Ivoire Justice.
Lead image: Simone Gbagbo in the dock at the Court of Justice in Abidjan (Sia Kambou/AFP)