Moreno-Ocampo to probe Côte d'Ivoire violence
The Hague-based International Criminal Court has given prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo the go-ahead to investigate atrocities committed after disputed elections in Côte d’Ivoire last year. On 23 June Moreno-Ocampo asked for authorisation to conduct an inquiry into widespread violence that followed the elections in which more than 3,000 people were killed.
UN investigators have already said they have evidence of possible crimes committed by supporters of both former president Laurent Gbagbo and his rival and current president Alassane Ouattara.
Several hundred people were reportedly massacred in the western town of Duekoue with forces loyal to both men blaming each other.
Ouattara was sworn-in as president in May this year after a five-month battle with Gbagbo forces who refused to give up power. In a letter dated 3 May, he asked Moreno-Campo to investigate “the most serious crimes” already committed during the fighting.
Judges at the ICC have asked Moreno-Ocampo to return within a month with any additional information of crimes committed between 2002 and 2010.
Last Wednesday, Ouattara set up a truth and reconciliation commission in the capital Yamoussoukro with a mandate to help the country heal following the post-election crisis.
The president has vowed to unite the west African country and top cocoa producer after the deadly five-month political standoff.
Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up in South Africa after the end of apartheid, the Ivorian panel will have to deal with a decade of turmoil, coup attempts, political and sometimes ethnic-religious violence, that culminated in the post-poll unrest from last December to April.
But there remains uncertainty as to how the commission will function and whether it should probe crimes committed before the late 1990s.