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ICC Upholds Ruling on Trial of Former Ivorian First Lady

FILE - Simone Gbagbo, Ivory Coast's former first lady, smiles as she sits in the dock at the Court of Justice in Abidjan on Dec. 26, 2014, for the start of her trial.

Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court have called on Ivory Coast to hand over former first lady Simone Gbagbo, upholding an earlier ruling that she stand trial in The Hague.

Polish Judge Piotr Hofmanski said Wednesday that Ivory Coast must stand by its obligation to surrender Gbagbo without delay. He said Ivorian authorities had failed to offer proof that could counter the ICC’s initial decision against holding Gbagbo’s trial in Ivory Coast, noting that the information they supplied was vague.

The appeals ruling also found Ivorian officials had not proved in a timely manner that they were investigating the former first lady for the same allegations of crimes against humanity that she faces in The Hague.

The ICC takes action only when member countries cannot or will not prosecute a suspect.

In March, an Ivorian court sentenced Gbago to 20 years in prison for her role in the violence that followed Ivory Coast’s 2010 elections. Her husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, refused to concede defeat, despite losing to current Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara. The Abidjan court found Simone Gbagbo guilty of undermining state security and organizing armed gangs in violence that left 3,000 people dead.

Once called the "Iron Lady," Simone Gbagbo also is accused of having run death squads when her husband was in power. She and her husband were arrested in 2011, and Laurent Gbagbo was subsequently sent to The Hague.

His trial at the ICC is expected to start later this year.