Probe panel member nurses doubts about Ivorian crisis

Praia- Cape Verde (PANA) -- Vera Duarte, a Cape Verde lawyer and member of the UN panel that probed the bloody repression of an opposition protest in Abidjan last 25 March, has expressed pessimism about the evolution of the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire.
Duarte, a former member of the African Commission of human and peoples rights and former High Court judge told the Cape Verde News Agency (INFORPRESS) noted the reconciliation process in Cote d'Ivoire was expected to culminate in a presidential election in October 2005.
"Unfortunately, the current situation makes it difficult for us to be optimistic.
There is increasing tension.
We watch successive demonstrations with a lot of apprehension," she said.
The Cape Verde lawyer cited, for instance, demonstrations organised by youths of the ruling party against the Linas- Marcoussis accord, coupled with the recent sacking of opposition ministers.
Referring to the conclusions of the UN inquiry, in which she worked with Italian sociologist Franca Sciuto and Burundi lawyer and former Justice Minister Eugène Nindorera, Duarte insisted that "there were indeed human rights violations.
" She however admitted that as was mentioned in the report, the demonstration was prohibited and mediation for its postponement undertaken at both the internal and international levels were unproductive.
On the other hand, Duarte considered as unjustified the demand by pro-government militants for the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers.
"In country where peace and security is fragile, the presence of UN, AU and ECOWAS forces is very desirable.
Such presence should be reinforced to ensure that the climate of tension does not escalate into open aggression," the jurist pleaded.

03 june 2004 11:47:00

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