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Côte d’Ivoire: President Ouattara Wants ICC Investigation; OTP to Seek Pre-Trial Chamber Authorization
19 May 2011
Dear all, On 3 May 2011, the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, wrote to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirming his desire that the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) open an independent and impartial investigation into the most serious crimes allegedly committed on Ivorian territory since 28 November 2010. In his letter, published on the ICC website on yesterday, President Ouattara stated that in spite of his efforts to re-establish the rule of law and the impartiality of the judiciary in Côte d’Ivoire, Ivorian justice was not best placed to investigate, prosecute or try those bearing the greatest criminal responsibility for these crimes and that the ICC should do so. President Ouattara also reaffirmed his intention to fully cooperate with any ICC investigation and to ratify the Rome Statute as soon as possible. For its part, the OTP has stated that it is currently drafting an application to seek authorization from the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to commence an investigation into the situation in Côte d’Ivoire in accordance with article 15 of the Rome Statute.
While Côte d’Ivoire is not a state party to the Rome Statute, the previous President, Laurent Gbabgo had accepted the Court’s jurisdiction in the territory since 2003. On 14 December 2010, following his assumption of power, President Ouattara reaffirmed the original acceptance of jurisdiction and indicated his confidence in the ability of the ICC to fairly and impartially render justice to victims and hold perpetrators of grave crimes accountable.
This message contains documents from the ICC, including the aforementioned letter from President Ouattara (I), a Human Rights Watch Media Statement (II) and related news coverage (III).
Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC. With regards, CICC Secretariat www.coalitionfortheicc.org *************************************
I. ICC DOCUMENTS
Note: These documents have been produced by the ICC. The CICC Secretariat distributes it as part of its mandate to keep member organizations and individuals informed about developments related to the ICC. The document does not reflect the views of the CICC as a whole or its individual members.
1. “President Ouattara confirms the importance of ICC intervention in Côte d’Ivoire”, OTP Weekly Briefing, 11-16 May 2011, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/rdonlyres/3836B9AF-B0DC-4F94-A4A8-4115E95AE76E/283329/OTPWeeklyBriefing_1116May201187.pdf
“In a letter to the Prosecutor dated 4 May 2011, the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, has confirmed his wish for the OTP to conduct independent and impartial investigations into the most serious crimes committed since 28 November 2010 on the entire Ivorian territory, and to ensure that the persons bearing the greatest criminal responsibility for these crimes are identified, prosecuted and tried before the ICC. President Ouattarra further noted that the Ivorian judiciary is not at this stage in the best position to address the most serious of these crimes, and any attempt at trying the most responsible individuals may face multiple obstacles. The OTP is currently drafting an application to seek authorization from the Pre‐Trial Chamber to commence an investigation into the situation in Côte d’Ivoire in accordance with article 15 of the Rome Statute.”
2. “Letter from the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court”, 3 May 2011, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/rdonlyres/7DA08D8E-FF5E-40C8-92D7 F058D5B032F3/283315/LetterOuattaratoOTP030512.PDF (In French)
Note: This is an informal translation provided by the CICC Secretariat and is strictly intended for information purposes.
“Mr. Prosecutor, On 18 April 2003, as provided for by Article 12, paragraph 3 of the Rome Statute, the Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire solemnly recognized, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the competence of the International Criminal Court to identify, prosecute and try the authors and accomplices of the acts committed on Ivorian territory since the events on 19 September 2002. This statement was made for an undetermined period. Following my election to the Presidency of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire on 2 December 2010, one of my first decisions was to confirm, in a letter dated 14 December 2010, the acceptance by Côte d’Ivoire of the competence of the International Criminal Court. For the reasons you know, the transfer of power following the presidential election on 31 October and 28 November 2010 did not happen in the peaceful way I had called for. A period of severe crisis followed, during which it is reasonable to believe, unfortunately, that crimes under the competence of the International Criminal Court have been committed. These crimes are of such gravity that I ask for your assistance to ensure that the main perpetrators do not remain unpunished, thereby contributing to re-establishing the rule of law in Côte d’Ivoire. As the President of the Republic, I will relentlessly seek to re-establish the full independence and prerogatives of the Ivorian judicial system. The Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, has already taken measures to shed light on a certain number of infractions committed over the last months and preceding years. I will otherwise spare no effort to reconcile Ivorians between themselves, and to finally close a decade of violence and of tearing apart. In this context, and after consultation with the general prosecutor and the judicial authorities, it appears however that Ivorian justice is not, to this day, best placed to know the crimes committed over the last months and any attempt to try those most responsible could face difficulties of various sorts. By this letter, I confirm my wish that your Office carries out independent and impartial investigations in Côte d’Ivoire into the most serious crimes committed since 28 November 2010 throughout the Ivorian territory, and ensure that the people who carry the heaviest criminal liability are identified, prosecuted and tried before the International Criminal Court. I repeat the commitment of my country to fully cooperate with your Office throughout the investigations and prosecutions, and confirm my intention to ensure that Côte d’Ivoire becomes a State Party to the Rome Statute with the shortest possible delay. Alassane Ouattara President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire”
II. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH MEDIA STATEMENT
1. “Côte d’Ivoire: Impartial Justice Top Task for Ouattara: Accountability, Rebuilding Rule of Law Crucial to End Crisis”, Human Rights Watch Media Statement, 19 May 2011, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/05/19/c-te-d-ivoire-impartial-justice-top-task-ouattara
III. RELATED NEWS COVERAGE
1. “Ouattara calls for ICC probe”, Pretoria News, 19 May 2011, http://www.pretorianews.co.za/ouattara-calls-for-icc-probe-1.1070754
2. “Time will tell - Ouattara's quest for truth and justice”, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 19 May 2011, http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/time-will-tell-ouattaras-quest-truth-and-justice 1.
3. “ICC urged to investigate I. Coast crimes”, PressTV, 19 May 2011, http://www.presstv.com/detail/180630.html
4. “Ouattara asks ICC to probe Ivory Coast crimes”, AFP, 18 May 2011, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gKeUCr9EpLqFdPB-pzpsfHSwbo5g?docId=CNG.24720c3e4e4b36a7a28281c90f818eda.781
5. “Ouattara seeks international probe into election violence”, France 24, 18 May 2011, http://www.france24.com/en/20110518-ivory-coast-asks-international-probe-crimes-electoral-violence-icc
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