UN rights council condemns Ivory Coast post-election violence

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] on Thursday adopted a resolution condemning recent post-election violence in the Ivory Coast [JURIST news archive] that has resulted in more than 170 deaths. Alassane Ouattara defeated incumbent Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profiles] in a November 28 runoff election, but Gbagbo has refused to concede victory, and his supporters have been engaging in a campaign of violence and intimidation [WP report]. UN human rights officials said Thursday that more than 170 have been killed [UN News Centre report], hundreds have been arrested and dozens have been subjected to torture, ill treatment and forced disappearances. Also Thursday, Ouattara's prime minister Guillaume Soro [BBC profile] called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to launch an investigation [DPA report] into possible crimes being committed by Gbagbo's supporters. Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Tuesday that he had not yet opened an investigation [statement] but that he would do so if crimes were committed in his jurisdiction.

Last week, the Council of the EU adopted a decision to institute sanctions [JURIST report] against the Ivory Coast until Gbagbo concedes victory. Earlier this month, ICC deputy prosecutor Fatou Bensouda urged those in the Ivory Coast to refrain from further violence [JURIST report]. In February, Gbagbo dissolved [JURIST report] the country's parliament and electoral commission based on allegations of voter fraud in the long delayed presidential elections, the first in a decade. On disbanding the government, Gbagbo charged Soro with creation of new government and new election format. Gbagbo had accused Beugre Mambe, the head of the independent electoral commission, of fraud by attempting to register more than 400,000 whom Gbagbo considers to be foreigners. Opposition parties such as the Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI) and Republican Gathering Party (RDR) [party websites, in French] said that most of those voters are ethnic groups in the north of the country, who would likely have voted against Gbagbo. Gbagbo was elected president in 2000 to serve a five-year term, but he has managed to stay in office through delaying six successive elections.

 

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