The International Criminal Court has withdrawn its warrant for the arrest of former Ivory Coast first lady Simone Gbagbo for post-election violence that killed thousands in 2010-2011, according to a decision made public on Thursday.
Simone Gbagbo was charged with crimes against humanity – including murder, rape, inhumane acts and persecution – after her husband refused to hand over power to Alassane Ouattara, who won elections in 2010.
More than 3,000 people died in the unrest.
“The chamber deems it appropriate to rule that the arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo is no longer in force,” the court said in a seven-page ruling seen by AFP and dated July 19.
“Great news for Madame Simone Gbagbo… she can now travel freely around the world,” her lawyer Ange Rodrigue Dadje said in a statement to AFP.
In March, the ICC acquitted Laurent Gbagbo of crimes against humanity and he returned to the Ivory Coast on June 17, after 10 years behind bars in The Hague, where the ICC is based, and then in Belgium.
Simone Gbagbo was not handed over to the ICC, but an Ivorian court sentenced her to 20 years in prison in 2015 for undermining state security.
She was released on August 8, 2018 following a presidential amnesty.
President Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo met on Tuesday for the first time in more than 10 years, after which Ouattara said the unrest was “behind us”.
But reconciliation was out of the question for the Gbagbo couple – Laurent Gbagbo filed for divorce on his return to the Ivory Coast, citing 72-year-old Simone’s “consistent refusal over the years to agree to an amicable divorce.” “.
They married in 1989 and have two daughters.
Gbagbo, 76, currently lives with Nady Bamba, a 47-year-old ex-journalist.