News / Africa

Ivorians Split on Former First Lady's Extradition

Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone during the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan (File)Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone during the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan (File)
x
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone during the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan (File)
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone during the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan (File)
The International Criminal Court has unsealed an arrest warrant for former Ivory Coast First Lady Simone Gbagbo for alleged crimes against humanity during post-election violence.  However, it's unclear whether the Ouattara government will extradite her to the Hague, and Ivorians are divided on whether she should instead be tried home.

Ivorian prosecutors were already preparing a case against Mrs. Gbagbo before the ICC indictment was made public Thursday. A spokesman for the prosecution said last week that the former first lady would soon be tried on charges of genocide, blood crimes and economic crimes in connection with the post-election violence.

The conflict erupted when former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office after losing a November 2010 presidential runoff to now current president Alassane Ouattara. More than 3,000 people died during the six-month crisis.

Laurent Gbagbo was transferred to the Hague last November, becoming the first former head of state to be taken into the court’s custody. Simone Gbagbo has been living under house arrest in the northwestern town of Odienne since April 2011 when opposition forces, backed by French and UN troops, captured her and her husband.

The ICC warrant was reportedly issued February 29 but then sealed. The warrant says the former first lady helped plan and order attacks against political rivals.

Joachim Boloo lives in Yopougon, a pro-Gbagbo stronghold in Abidjan. Despite being a Gbagbo supporter, he is not against ICC intervention. He said he thinks Simone Gbagbo has a better chance of fair treatment abroad.

"I prefer her being in prison there than here in the bush whereby nobody knows where she’s kept, what people are doing on her. If she’s deported to the International Criminal Court - anyway she’s already in prison. So it’s better for her to be in prison in good conditions than in prison in the hands of people that you don’t know. And if the trial could be fair, there’s no problem," said Boloo.

Critics accuse the Ouattara government of victor’s justice. Both sides allegedly committed serious crimes during the crisis, however authorities have so far only detained and tried members of the Gbagbo camp.

Experts say imbalanced justice and perceived impunity for pro-Ouattara forces are undermining reconciliation and fueling insecurity.

Diabate Sekou, a clothing vendor in Yopougon, said Ivorians need to be patient.

He says Ivorian courts can do a thorough job so long as they were given enough time. He says he’s sure that some pro-Ouattara fighters were involved in the violence, and if that is made clear then President Ouattara himself will condemn this. But you need to let justice do its work.

However, others in Yopougon said trials will problematic no matter where they’re held.

Mory Sanogo, 30, says trials reinforce political divisions by making everyone relive the awful details of the conflict.

He says this arrest warrant is not a good thing because we are in the context of national reconciliation, and when we talk about national reconciliation we need to forget the past and go forward.

Simone Gbagbo is the first woman to be indicted by the International Criminal Court.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid