UN rights expert: victims of Ivory Coast election violence must not be forgotten

[JURIST] UN human rights expert Doudou Diene on Thursday stressed the importance of remembering the victims [press release] of the violent post-election crisis that gripped the West African nation of the Ivory Coast two years ago. The five-month long post-election crisis, which resulted in at least 3,000 civilian deaths, erupted when former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archives] refused to step down [JURIST report] after losing the presidential election to Alassane Ouattara in November 2010. A 2012 report from the National Commission of Inquiry found both pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces responsible for serious international crimes. However, of the 150 individuals arrested and charged, none was of the pro-Ouattara forces. Diene spoke at the conclusion of his 10-day visit to the Ivory Coast, where he was following up on the implementation of past recommendations for the country. He called for several measures that could support the progress that has been made since his last visit. As new elections near, he urged the country not to forget the victims of the previous one. He suggested that the country work to promote equity in the judiciary and improve the socioeconomic status of its citizens. The last UN report [text] on the country was released in 2011. Diene will present a comprehensive report of his findings [UN News Centre report] in Geneva in 2014.

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] in February that the Ivory Coast national army is committing human rights violations [report, PDF] against pro-Gbagbo supporters. The report included detailed accounts of the alleged torture and inhumane treatment of political and ethnic prisoners, including members of Gbagbo's family. Also in February Gbagbo appeared [JURIST report] before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to determine whether the case against him will proceed to trial. Charles Ble Goude [Trial Watch backgrounder], the former Ivory Coast Minister for Sports and Youth and close political ally of Gbagbo, was charged [JURIST report] with war crimes and murder in January. Simone Gbagbo, Laurent Gbagbo's wife, was accused [JURIST report] of committing crimes against humanity during the post-election crisis. The ICC unsealed an arrest warrant [text, PDF] for implementing a plan that involved murder, sexual violence, other inhuman acts and persecution in collaboration with her husband and other government officials.

 

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