Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - It is time for the Ivorian authorities to cooperate fully with an International Criminal Court (ICC) probe into human rights abuses following the disputed 2010 presidential election, Amnesty International said, a year after the conflict's
most violent episode.
Hundreds were killed in the Duékoué area, 500km west of the commercial capital Abidjan, during three days of intense fighting from 28 March 2011 between forces loyal to outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo and those supporting President Alassane Ouattara.
In a statement obtained by PANA here Thursday, Amnesty International said to its knowledge, none of those suspected of responsibility for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Duékoué have been brought to trial. The ICC has said it will investigate the violence.
"The Ivorian authorities must live up to President Ouattara’s repeated commitment to put an end to impunity and take action to ensure the terrible crimes committed in Duékoué 12 months ago do not go unpunished," said Salvatore Saguès, Amnesty International’s researcher on West Africa.
"President Ouattara's government must support the ICC’s investigation and also start a national process of investigating those suspected of responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights abuses - regardless of their political affiliation.
"If there is sufficient admissible evidence, the government must bring those responsible to trial,'' he said.
The FRCI (Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire), loyal to President Ouattara, launched the 28 March 2011 attack on forces loyal to Gbagbo, who was refusing to cede power.
Throughout that day, pro-Gbagbo forces looted the belongings of Malinkés (Dioulas) and killed civilians.
The FRCI, supported by local traditional hunters known as Dozos and armed groups, took control of the town the next day.
Hundreds of Guérés suspected of being Gbagbo supporters were killed on ethnic and political grounds. Today, hundreds of families displaced by the fighting have still not returned home.
An International Commission of Inquiry concluded that there were human rights abuses by both sides during the post electoral period that could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC in November 2011, as the Court took the first step towards addressing impunity. The former president is accused of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts.
-0- PANA SEG 29Mar2012