The Ivory Coast government on Wednesday launched a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to resolve conflicts stemming from the widespread post-election violence [JURIST news archive] that took place earlier this year. The 11-member commission, modeled on similar efforts [AP report] taken by South Africa during the post-apartheid era, is composed of Ivory Coast religious leaders and other dignitaries and is headed by former prime minister Charles Konan Banny. Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] was captured and forced from office [JURIST report] after refusing to leave despite losing last November's election to now President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile], which resulted in months of fighting between Ouattara's and Gbagbo's forces. More than 3,000 people were killed from December to April following the election. The commission is likely to hear complaints from the families of people killed by Gbagbo's military. Rights groups are insisting that the government hear cases from families of those killed by Ouattara forces as well.
In August, Ouattara set up a commission of inquiry [JURIST report] to investigate crimes and human rights violations that took place during the violence. Ivory Cost Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio signed an agreement [JURIST report] with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] in June, allowing an investigation into political violence to proceed and pledging cooperation with the ICC. Earlier that month, an official for the UN's International Commission of Inquiry called for an investigation [JURIST report] into Ouattara and his forces' continuing attacks against supporters of ousted leader Gbagbo. In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Ouattara to conduct an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged atrocities carried out by his forces in its attempts to secure the presidency. According to the report, the Republican Force of Ivory Coast killed more than 100 civilians, raped at least 20 supporters of Gbagbo and burned at least 10 villages in March. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] also reported the deaths of at least 800 civilians [JURIST report] in the Ivory Coast town of Duekoue as a result of intercommunal violence.