Simone Gbagbo

Simone Gbagbo is the former First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire and is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity © ICC-CPI
Former First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, serving a 20 year prison sentence for undermining state security. Côte d’Ivoire remains obliged to surrender her to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity between 2010 and 2011.
Case status: 
Convicted in 2015 of undermining state security by an Ivorian court and sentenced to serve 20 years in prison. However, ICC appeals judges found that the domestic proceedings did not cover the same crimes as those covered by the ICC case and that Côte d’Ivoire remains obliged to surrender her to The Hague.

Simone Gbagbo suspected of planning 2010-11 post-election violence 

Simone Gbagbo, Côte d’Ivoire's former first lady, is suspected of involvement in former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo’s alleged campaign of violence to retain power following the country’s 2010 presidential election. She is an alleged key member of the former president’s inner circle, along with fellow ICC suspect Charles Blé Goudé, which is said to have orchestrated a series of attacks across Côte d’Ivoire against civilian supporters of the president-elect Alassane Ouattara. The ethnically charged conflict spanned at least five months and left more than 3,000 civilians dead, 150 women and girls raped or sexually assaulted, and over 100,00 displaced. 


An ICC arrest warrant issued in early 2012 alleges that Simone Gbagbo, as an indirect co-perpetrator, contributed to a plan to commit crimes against humanity in Abidjan: murder; rape and other sexual violence; persecution; and other inhuman acts. Currently detained in Côte d’Ivoire, Simone Gbagbo remains wanted by the ICC.


ICC judges confirm Côte d’Ivoire obliged to transfer despite domestic trial 

In December 2015, the ICC Appeals Chamber confirmed the Court's jurisdiction over Simone Gbagbo and Côte d’Ivoire’s obligation to surrender her. Côte d’Ivoire had challenged ICC jurisdiction in the case, arguing that it had already initiated complementary domestic proceedings against the former first lady, removing the need for the ICC’s intervention. 

In March 2015, Côte d’Ivoire’s Assize Court convicted Simone Gbagbo and other pro-Gbagbo supporters for political crimes in relation to the 2010-11 post-election conflict, including disturbing the peace, forming and organising armed gangs, and undermining state security.  

However, ICC appeals judges found that the domestic proceedings did not cover the same crimes as those covered by the ICC case. 

Gbagbo was again tried at the Ivorian court, this time on crimes against humanity charges similar to those upon which her ICC arrest warrant was based. However, she was acquitted in March 2017 over a lack of evidence amid claims of proceedings mired in fair trial failures, leading civil society to renew its call for her to be surrendered to the ICC to face genuine crimes against humanity proceedings.

Civil society has found flaws in the domestic judicial process against Simone Gbagbo, noting the importance to victims that genuine domestic proceedings extend beyond political crimes and address massive human rights violations, such as crimes against humanity.