Cote d'Ivoire: Dispatches - a Look At Human Rights in the News Today All Dispatches » By Matt Wells 31 July 2013
More than two years have passed since Côte d'Ivoire's post-election crisis left 3,000 dead. Forces backing both former President Laurent Gbagbo and current President Alassane Ouattara were implicated in war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during this period.
Yesterday, the UN Security Council pressed Côte d'Ivoire to swiftly hold accountable those on both sides of the fighting, which split the country down political and ethnic lines. Until now, the international community, after backing Ouattara's electoral victory, has been slow to criticize the government's failure to ensure its own forces are brought to justice for any crimes. (read more)
Côte d'Ivoire: Well holes suspected to be mass graves must be excavated By Amnesty International 29 July 2013
The government of Cote d’Ivoire has failed to properly investigate evidence of human rights abuses linked to the killings at Nahibly displacement camp in the west of the country just over a year ago, says Amnesty International.
In a report published today the organisation gives details of bodies thrown in several wells that have not been excavated by the authorities despite repeated calls for an investigation. Amnesty International is calling on Cote d’Ivoire to establish an international commission of inquiry into this atrocity.
“One year on, and despite repeated promises to ensure justice, the Ivorian government has made no substantial progress in investigating the crimes committed during this attack,” said Salvatore Saguès, Amnesty International’s Researcher on West Africa. (read more)
Cote d'Ivoire: ICC Urged to Investigate Ivory Coast's Forces Nouvelles Leaders By Peter Clottey 24 July 2013
The former chief of investigations for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute leaders of the Forces Nouvelles over alleged atrocities the group committed during Ivory Coast's civil war.
Alan White says there is need for the ICC to administer equal justice in Ivory Coast.
"All we are looking for is to ensure there is a balanced investigation and a balanced prosecution. Quite frankly that is one of the areas right now that the country of Ivory Coast is struggling from is the fact that there is not a sense of justice," White said. (read more)
Cote d'Ivoire gov't shuts Angovia gold mine after inter-ethnic clashes By Xinhua 18 July 2013
ABIDJAN, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Cote d'Ivoire government has ordered closure of Angovia gold mine where inter-ethnic clashes between the villagers and gold washers left at least three people dead, 10 others injured and many more were left homeless.
Speaking on Wednesday in Angovia, 200 km from Abidjan, the Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said the "government had decided to close down the Angovia gold mine."
"Gold mining should stop in all the 33 villages neighbouring Angovia," the defence minister insisted. (read more)
Charges related to post-electoral violence confirmed against Simone Gbagbo and 80 others Embassy of the United States- Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire 11 July 2013
Charges against Simone Gbagbo, the former Ivoirian first lady, were confirmed yesterday by a court in Abidjan for her role in violence that followed the 2010 presidential election. Fraternite Matin (p. 8) said the decision paves the way for the trial of Simone Gbagbo and 80 other supporters of the ex-leader, including his son Michel Gbagbo and FPI officials Pascal Affi N’guessan and Ake Ngbo. They are accused among other counts of breaching state security, rebellion and defiance of state authority the paper added. (read more)
Liberia: 5,200 Ivorian Refugees Return Home
BY BEN P. WESEE
19 MARCH 2013
More than 5, 200 Ivorian Refugees have been repatriated to the Ivory Coast from the Dougee Refugees Camp in Grand Gedeh County. The exercise was carried out jointly by the Liberia Refugees, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to close the camp.
The Dougee camp hosted nearly 6,000 refugees, majority of whom had repatriated to Cote d'lvoire. The last batch of 114 refugees was, however, relocated to the PTP Refugee Camp in Grand Gedeh County at the former Prime Timber Production site. They are said to be among more than 62,000 Ivorian refugees, currently residing in Liberia, many of whom have indicated that they would like to stay in Liberia a bit longer.
According to a UNCHR dispatch, the UN Agency had facilitated the repatriation of more than 5,200 Ivorian refugees this year, compared to about 6,000 in 2011 and 2012, respectively when the repatriation exercise was interrupted last June following the killing of seven UN peacekeepers on the Ivorian side of the border.
Dougee is the second refugee camp to be decommissioned in Liberia over the past one year. The first camp was Ziah, the two camps were among six new camps established during the Ivorian refugee influx into Liberia in late 2010 and 2011. At the peak of the influx, more than 200,000 Ivorian crossed over into Liberia.
The Executive Direction of the LRRRC, Cllr. Wheatonia Y. Dixion Barnes, said the decision to close and consolidate refugees' camp was prompted by the reduction in Ivorian refugee population in the county; the ongoing facilitated voluntary repatriation to Cote d'Ivoire, and in view of the high cost of running a refugee camp.
Cote d'Ivoire: Human Rights Violations Threaten to Erode Progress in Cote d'Ivoire, UN Expert Says
UN News Service
20 MARCH 2013
An independent United Nations expert has urged authorities in Cote d'Ivoire to boost the democratic process by focusing on human rights and an impartial judicial process, and called on the international community to provide continued support for the country, particularly given the security and humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Mali.
"The urgency of the need for political reconciliation and for democratic, economic and social reconstruction is made stronger by the crisis in Mali, the political, military, religious and economic implications of which could destabilize all countries in the region profoundly and in the long term," the UN Independent Expert on human rights in Cote d'Ivoire, Doudou Diène, said as he presented his latest report to the Human Rights Council yesterday. (read more)
Cote d'Ivoire: Row Over Mass Naturalizations in Côte D'ivoire
22 MARCH 2013
IRIN Humaninarian News and Analysis.
Abidjan — Which of Côte d'Ivoire's 20 million inhabitants qualify as nationals is a question that has driven political debate and conflict here for many years, and one that came to the fore earlier this month when thousands of people who had lived here all their lives were finally, and simultaneously in a public ceremony, given formal citizenship documents.
While some 600,000 people with origins or parentage in nearby West African states have been discreetly granted citizenship since 2011, a ceremony in the administrative capital Yamoussoukro on 5 March to issue citizenship to 8,133 people of Burkinabé descent drew far more attention.
Among the most recent batch to receive citizenship was 53-year-old Maurice Kamgabéga whose family settled in Côte d'Ivoire's central-western Bouaflé region in 1933 from what was then known as Upper Volta (present day Burkina Faso). (read more)
Côte d'Ivoire: au moins 6 morts dont 2 militaires dans une attaque
Le Monde.fr avec AFP | 14.03.2013
Au moins six personnes, dont deux militaires, ont été tuées lors d'une attaque d'hommes armés venus du Liberia contre un village de l'ouest de la Côte d'Ivoire près de Toulépleu, a-t-on appris jeudi 14 mars de sources concordantes.
"Une attaque contre le village de Zilébly dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi a causé la mort de six personnes, dont deux éléments des Forces républicaines [FRCI, armée]", a expliqué un commandant FRCI basé dans la zone, ayant requis l'anonymat. Un journaliste local a évoqué de son côté "huit morts, dont deux militaires et six civils". Ces deux sources ont parlé d'assaillants "venus du Liberia".
Ivory Coast: Security Forces Are Killing and Torturing Opponents, Group Says By Reuters 26th February 2013
Ivorian soldiers and allied militias are killing and torturing supporters of the ousted president Laurent Gbagbo, and they took part in a deadly attack on a camp housing displaced civilians, Amnesty International said Tuesday. The violence and the government’s failure to prosecute those responsible are derailing efforts to heal the country’s wounds nearly two years after the end of its civil war, the group said. The “army, along with an armed militia of traditional hunters, the Dozos, are carrying out extrajudicial executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings, politically motivated arrests and torture,” Amnesty said in a statement.
Although the civil war of 2002 came to an end in 2004, Côte d'Ivoire has ever since been divided between north and south. The split is along religious and ethnic lines. The north is predominantly Muslim and populated by Senufo, Mandé (Malinké, Dan, Gouro, Dioula), and Lobi groups, while the south is majority Christian and populated by Akan (Baoulé, Agni, Abron), Laguné (Ébrié, Adioukrou, Abbé, Atié), and Krou (Krou, Bété, Guéré) groups.
After years of postponement, the presidential elections in October and November 2010 were the trigger leading to another eruption of violence. Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo was defeated by the opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara, who originates form the north. But Gbagbo refused to give up power and barricaded himself into the Presidential house. This resulted in bloody post-election violence in which at least 3,000 persons died. Atrocities were committed both by the Ivorian army loyal to Gbagbo and the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d'Ivoire –later the Republican Forces– of Ouattara.
Laurent Gbagbo was captured in April 2010. The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court authorized an investigation of the violence in Côte d'Ivoire on October 3, 2011. An arrest warrant for Laurent Gbagbo was issued a few weeks later. He is charged with crimes against humanity, in particular murder, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts in the context of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population within the meaning of article 7 of the Rome Statute (read arrest warrant). He has been extradited to the ICC in the Hague, where he awaits trial.
The prosecutor of the ICC is still investigating the role played by other members of the Gbagbo government as well as members of Ouattara's government. Recently, the ICC has decided to extend investigations to include possible crimes against humanity committed back to 2002.
The crimes that took place in Côte d'Ivoire in the aftermath of the elections may be qualified as genocidal massacres, though they were not a full-scale genocide. The arrest warrant issued by the ICC explicitly mentions that the assaults were often directed at specific ethnic or religious communities – national groups were also targeted, namely migrants from West-African countries. Furthermore, the attacks were the result of an organizational policy of Laurent Gbagbo and his forces. The murders, rapes, persecutions and other inhuman acts were committed with the intent to partially destroy ethnical, religious and national groups.
The root causes of the eruption of violence in Cote d’Ivoire have not been resolved, in particular the deeply rooted polarization in Côte d'Ivoire. The establishment of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission represents a welcome but insufficient initiative.
Therefore, Côte d'Ivoire is rightly at stage 5, Polarization, of Genocide Watch's stages of genocide as early warning signs point in the direction of potential genocidal massacres.
Until today the government of Ouattara has not lived up its promise to investigate the massacres during the post-election violence. Genocide Watch demands that the government of Côte d'Ivoire investigate, prosecute and punish atrocities committed by both sides, including the Duékoué massacre (read more). The Republican Forces of Ouattara need to be vetted, and perpetrators punished.
Former combatants should be disarmed.
Genocide Watch calls upon the government of Côte d'Ivoire to emphasize and develop transcendent national institutions, in education, music, sports, security, and common celebrations of both Muslim and Christian holidays at the community level.
Above all, the ideology of Ivoirité with its false distinction between "native" and immigrated Ivoirians should be abolished.
Cote d'Ivoire: Ex-Ivorian First Lady Questioned Over Genocide, Corruption
Kimeng Hilton Ndukong, AllAfrica 13 November 2012
An Examining Magistrate in Côte d'Ivoire yesterday November 13 began questioning Simone Gbagbo, former First Lady and wife of ex-Ivorian leader, Laurent Gbagbo, on charges of genocide and corruption. Also to be heard is Admiral Vagba Faussignaux, ex-Commander of the Ivorian Navy. RFI radio reported that the interrogation followed that of over 20 aides of the former President that began on May 31. Reports said Judge Koné Mamadou and Barrister Rodrigue Dadjé, one of the lawyers of Simone Gbagbo, were already in Odienné in the north-western part of the country since Monday November 12 where the questioning is being held. Mrs. Gbagbo is one of eight people already charged with genocide. Last February, she was informed that the count of genocide had also been added to others such as blood crimes, threat to State security and economic crimes. (read more)
Cote d'Ivoire: Court Again Refuses to Release Former Ivorian President
AllAfrica13 November 2012
Arusha — The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday rejected a second attempt by former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo to obtain provisional release, and ordered him to remain in custody. This comes after Gbagbo earlier failed to get proceedings against him suspended on health grounds. Gbagbo is accused of crimes against humanity during widespread violence that followed presidential elections in December 2010. No date has yet been set for his confirmation of charges hearings. Counsel for the former head of state, the first to be indicted by the ICC, applied for his provisional release for the first time in May 2012, but the Court dismissed the request in July, and the Appeals Chamber confirmed the decision in October. But at a hearing on October 30, Gbagbo's lawyers renewed the application, claiming that there were changes of circumstances warranting that he be granted bail, including his ill health and the availability of a state willing to host him, to restrict his movement and ensure his availability in court. (read more)
Cote d’Ivoire's Gbagbo Fit for Hague Trial
Laurent Gbagbo, This Day Live 3 November, 2012
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has ruled that the former head of state of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, is fit to stand trial. He faces four charges of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, in the wake of Cote d’Ivoire's disputed presidential elections in 2010. Some 3,000 people were killed in violence after Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in the polls. The 67-year-old has denied responsibility for the violence. He accuses former colonial power France of plotting to topple him from power in the world's biggest cocoa producer. The court ruled that some practical adjustments could be made in order to enable Laurent Gbagbo to participate in the hearing, including shorter court sessions and facilities for him to rest during breaks. In a statement, the ICC said the judges would soon set a date for the confirmation of charges hearing in the case. The ICC began operating in 2002 to bring to justice those responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in countries that accept its jurisdiction, or when the UN Security Council refers a case to it.
Victims Need More From International Criminal Court Investigation in Côte d'Ivoire
10 October, 2012 HuffPost Impact UK
With thousands of victims crying out for justice for heinous crimes committed during violence that followed Côte d'Ivoire's disputed 2010 presidential elections, the intervention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has brought great hope to many. Yet, a perceived bias in prosecutions, a lack of impartial information and frustrations regarding access to its proceedings threaten to undermine the credibility of the Court. Côte d'Ivoire is emerging from a deeply violent crisis that reached its climax in the November 2010 post-election violence, causing great suffering to every political, regional and religious grouping. In October 2011, ICC judges - following a special acceptance of the Court's jurisdiction by Côte d'Ivoire - authorized a request by the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during this period. (read more)
COTE D'IVOIRE: Bah Léontine, “Enough is enough”
31 July 2012
DUEKOUE - Hundreds of armed youths stormed Côte d’Ivoire’s last camp for the displaced outside Duékoué city in the turbulent western region on 20 July. They killed at least six civilians, torched the camp and drove off the 5,000 people staying there in what has been described as an ethnically motivated attack.
Bah Léontine, who managed to escape with her family, sought refuge at the town hall in Duékoué. Suspected members of the Malinké ethnic group, together with traditional hunters known as Dozos, attacked the Nahibly camp hosting 5,083 mainly Guéré people, who had fled their homes during the 2010-11 election violence (read more)
Extract from an interview conducted by Human Rights Watch:
"A 29-year-old woman described how a 4x4 drove up as her family was fleeing the Carrefour neighborhood, and three men jumped out in military fatigues, armed with Kalashnikov rifles. The men pulled her husband away, as she was carrying a 6-month-old baby, and chanted, “You are all Guérés, you who voted Gbagbo! You didn’t vote ADO [Alassane Dramane Ouattara], we are going to kill you all.” All three men opened fire on her husband, killing him instantly. The attackers then abducted the woman’s 15-year-old brother, forcing him into a truck where several other youth were already held."
The words of a Guéré man:
"Ce n'est pas parce qu'on a accepté de vivre avec nos frères burkinabés qu'ils doivent être propriétaires de nos terres."
Credit: Peter DiCampo/VII
Hundreds of bodies were thrown into wells during the Duékoué massacre (read more).