The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday said it has decided to drop its arrest warrant for Ivory Coast’s former first lady Simone Gbagbo over charges of instigating post-election violence that killed thousands in 2010-2011, reported Africa News.
The post-election violence after her husband Laurent Gbagbo refused to hand over power to Alassane Ouattara, who won a 2010 election. More than 3,000 people lost their lives in the violence.
The former first lady faced four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape, other inhumane acts, and persecution since 2012.
“The chamber considers it appropriate to decide that the warrant of arrest for Simone Gbagbo shall cease to have the effect,” the ICC said in a seven-page ruling obtained by AFP.
Notably, Simone was not handed over to the ICC, but an Ivorian court sentenced her to 20 years in prison in 2015 after she was charged with undermining state security. The court freed her in August 2018 after a presidential amnesty.
The Gbagbo couple is on the verge of getting separated from each other as the former Ivory Coast president has applied for a divorce upon his return to the country. He claimed that the 72-year-old Simone had consistently refused over the years to agree to an amicable separation.
In March, Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted by the ICC of criminal charges against humanity. He returned to Ivory Coast in June this year, after living behind bars in The Hague, where the ICC is based, for 10 long years and then in Belgium.
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara met Gbagbo on Tuesday at the presidential palace in Abidjan. It was the first meeting of the two political leaders in more than 10 years, after which Ouattara said that the turmoil was a past. During the meeting, Gbagbo urged Ouattara to free all the prisoners who had been held in prisons since the civil war period.