Ivorian ruling party denounces UN report as biased

Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) -- The chairman of Cote d'Ivoire ruling Ivorian Popular Front (IPF) Affi Nguessan on Thursday denounced inconsistencies in a report by United Nations investigators, which accused the country's top leadership of masterminding the killing of peaceful demonstrators in Abidjan on 25-26 March.
Authorities have blamed Radio France Internationale (RFI) for revealing the content of the UN report before its official release.
"The leakage of the report to the media before its endorsement by its principal recipients as well as its biased utilisation by RFI and the French media backed by so-called specialists was deliberately done to discredit Ivorian authorities," complained the chairman of President Laurent Gbagbo's party.
Affi Nguessan said the FPI's reaction was prompted by the RFI's commentary in the current fragile Ivorian context, which raises a lot of concern" and wondered what the RFI sought to achieve by prematurely releasing the report.
"This leakage undermines the credibility of the investigators and confirms the biased nature of the inquiry," irrespective of who they might be and the modalities under which they worked.
"In terms of responsibility, such a behaviour only helps to raise doubts on the seriousness of the work accomplished and its authors," said Affi Nguessan, who questioned why the Francophone or French-speaking investigators had opted to write and issue a report in English in a Francophone country.
According to him, these weaknesses helped to enhance fears on the biased conclusions held by the UN investigators.
Besides denouncing its premature release, the former Ivorian Prime Minister also criticised what he termed as incoherence in the content of the document.
"Generally, this report is therefore partisan, superficial, dishonest, immoral and totally lacks rigour," Affi said.
The FPI chair asserted that the report's conclusions were nothing but "a compilation of theses by the opposition and rumours filtered by rebels.
This is because the report glosses over the responsibility of the demonstrators in the killings and does not draw conclusions from the death of police officers in order to avoid producing a pre-meditated thesis".
According to President Laurent Gbagbo's party chairman, the shadows in certain parts of the UN report, "undermine its entire credibility due to its hastily reached conclusions".
"The UN, which embodies impartiality under any circumstances, should not seriously take this report into account.
Consequently, it will be denounced and rejected by Ivorian authorities," the FPI chairman concluded.
Last Monday, RFI had broken the news that "the top state authorities" were blamed by the UN commission of inquiry for causing the death of 120 marchers slain during a banned protest demonstration on 25-26 March in Abidjan.

06 may 2004 21:30:00

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