Simone Gbagbo: First Lady of Cote D'Ivoire, First Woman Indicted by the International Criminal Court, One among Many Female Perpetrators of Crimes Against Humanity


Zaldivar-Giuffredi, Alessandra M. 2018. "Simone Gbagbo: First Lady of Cote D'Ivoire, First Woman Indicted by the International Criminal Court, One among Many Female Perpetrators of Crimes Against Humanity." ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law 25 (1): 1-31.

Author: Alessandra M. Zaldivar-Giuffredi


"Prosecutor v. Gbagbo presents us with a certain novelty: a female defendant indicted by the ICC.4 Her indictment may be emblematic of an important shift towards a post-gender model of international criminal justice, a recognition that both women and men are capable of committing atrocities and crimes against humanity—including the perpetration of rape and sexual violence.5 Nevertheless, the supposed “novelty” of this case is predicated on the problematic view of women as inherently peaceful and merely ‘victims’ of war, incapable of independent violent agency.6 Women have long been involved in the commission and perpetration of mass crime.7 An analysis of S. Gbagbo’s case, then, requires questioning her ‘uniqueness’ as a defendant and the role gender may or may not have played in her indictment by the ICC, and considering its implications for international criminal law. Looking past the problematic gender narratives relating to Prosecutor v. Gbagbo, an important issue of complementarity arises.8 In March 2017, S. Gbagbo was acquitted by Ivoirian courts; nevertheless, her indictment by the ICC persists, as the Pre-Trial Chamber found an absence of meaningful domestic proceedings against her.9 Furthermore, even after Cote d’Ivoire challenged this finding on appeal, the Appeals Chamber confirmed the Pre Trial Chamber’s finding on admissibility.10 Thus, we are left to reckon with the relationship between domestic and international investigations: What is the scope of the ICC’s role in ensuring justice, aiding victims, and furthering the internal unification of the affected States?" (Zaldivar-Giuffredi 2018, 1)

Topics: Gender, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, Sexual Violence, Female Perpetrators, Rape, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Côte D'Ivoire

Year: 2018

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at