Friday November 23 2012

Former Ivory Coast First Lady wanted by ICC

By Agencies

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, the wife of Cote d'Ivoire's former President Laurent Gbagbo.

She is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the wake of disputed presidential elections in 2010.

Her husband is already awaiting trial at the court in The Hague on four charges of crimes against humanity.

Some 3,000 people died in the unrest after he refused to accept defeat.

Mr and Mrs Gbagbo were arrested in a bunker in April 2011, five months after the elections, following a military assault - backed up by UN and French troops - on their residence in the main city, Abidjan.

Mr Gbagbo, 67, was transferred to The Hague a year ago - the first former head of state to appear at the ICC.

He has denied responsibility for the post-election violence.

Before the transfer, both he and his wife, 63, were charged in Cote d'Ivoire with economic crimes, including looting, armed robbery, and embezzlement.

Analysts say the former First Lady was a powerful politician in her own right. The AP news agency reports that she is the first woman to be charged by the ICC.

Some saw her as the real hardline influence on Mr Gbagbo, preventing him from giving up power.