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C˘te d Ivoire: Latest Statements and News
14 Oct 2011
Dear all,

Please find below information about recent developments related to the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation in Côte d'Ivoire.

This message includes the latest statements from members of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (I), as well as related news and opinions (II).

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

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I. COALITION MEMBERS MEDIA STATEMENTS

1. "Côte d'Ivoire: Impartial Justice Poses Test for Ouattara - Serious Crimes by Both Sides Demand Swift Response," Human Rights Watch Media Statement, 6 October 2011, http://www.hrw.org/node/102170?tr=y&auid=9647786

"The government of President Alassane Ouattara should match its rhetorical commitment to impartial justice with action against its own troops implicated in crimes during the post-election violence and its aftermath, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. An imbalance in justice efforts threatens to open new divisions at a moment when the Ouattara government has a unique opportunity to move Côte d'Ivoire past the manipulation of political and ethnic blocs that occurred under former President Laurent Gbagbo, Human Rights Watch said.

The 130-page report, "'They Killed Them Like It Was Nothing': The Need for Justice for Côte d'Ivoire's Post-Election Crimes," details the war crimes and likely crimes against humanity committed by forces under both Gbagbo and Ouattara. It documents the horrific human rights abuses that took place from November 2010, when Gbagbo lost an election and refused to yield power, through June 2011. Ouattara took power in April 2011. At least 3,000 people were killed and 150 women raped during the conflict period, often in targeted acts perpetrated along political, ethnic, and religious lines. The report also explores the accountability efforts of the Ouattara government to date, including charges brought by the civilian or military prosecutor against at least 118 members of the former Gbagbo camp.

"The Ouattara government has taken noteworthy steps to prosecute leaders of the former regime, including Gbagbo himself, against whom there is credible evidence of serious crimes," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "But the pursuit of justice is essential to victims on both sides who saw their loved ones killed, or houses burned, not just a tool for the victors."

The report is based on research conducted during six field missions between January and July 2011, including four in Abidjan and two along the Ivorian-Liberian border. Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed over 500 victims and witnesses to the violence as well as members of the armed forces on both sides, Ouattara government officials, journalists, medical professionals, representatives of human rights and humanitarian organizations, United Nations officials, and diplomats in Abidjan, New York, Washington, and Paris.

The report names 13 military and political leaders implicated in serious crimes, based on corroborated information from independent sources, including victims, witnesses, and other perpetrators involved in specific events. Eight implicated leaders come from the Gbagbo camp, including former President Gbagbo, the longtime militia leader Charles Blé Goudé, the former head of the armed forces Philippe Mangou, and the former heads of two elite security forces, Guiai Bi Poin and Dogbo Blé. Four implicated leaders come from the Ouattara camp, including Eddie Médi and Ousmane Coulibaly from the Republican Forces; credible evidence presented in the report also links these two commanders to similar grave crimes committed during the 2002-2003 armed conflict and its aftermath.

Human Rights Watch documented the evolution of the post-election violence from its outbreak in November 2010 through the conclusion of fighting in May 2011. After Gbagbo refused to step down when the Independent Electoral Commission and international observers proclaimed Ouattara the winner of the November 28, 2010 runoff, Gbagbo's security forces and allied militia groups began a campaign of violence against Ouattara supporters. Armed conflict began in March, after which both sides were implicated in grave violations of international humanitarian law.

Beginning in December, elite security force units closely linked to Gbagbo dragged neighborhood political leaders from Ouattara's coalition away from restaurants or out of their homes into waiting vehicles; family members later found the victims' bodies in morgues, riddled with bullets. Women who had been active in mobilizing voters - or who merely wore pro-Ouattara t-shirts - were targeted and often gang raped by armed forces and militia groups under Gbagbo's control, after which the attackers told the women to "go tell Alassane" their problems. Pro-Gbagbo militia stopped hundreds of perceived Ouattara supporters at checkpoints and beat them to death with bricks, executed them by gunshot at point-blank range, or burned them alive.

As international pressure increased on Gbagbo to step down, the violence only became more appalling. The Gbagbo government-controlled state television station, Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI), incited violence against pro-Ouattara groups and exhorting followers to set up roadblocks and "denounce foreigners." This marked, in many ways, the culmination of a decade of Gbagbo's manipulation of ethnicity and citizenship, in which northern Ivorians were treated as second-class citizens and West African immigrants as unwelcome interlopers. Hundreds of people from both groups were killed in Abidjan and the far west between February and April, sometimes solely on the basis of their name or dress. Mosques and religious leaders in the Muslim community were likewise targeted.

Abuses by pro-Ouattara forces did not reach a comparable scale until they began their military offensive to take over the country. In village after village in the far west, particularly between Toulepleu and Guiglo, members of the Republican Forces allied with Ouattara killed civilians from the pro-Gbagbo ethnic groups, including elderly people who were unable to flee; raped women; and burned villages to the ground. In Duékoué, the Republican Forces and allied militias massacred hundreds of people, pulling men they alleged to be pro-Gbagbo militia out of their homes and executing them unarmed. Later, during the military campaign to take over and consolidate control of Abidjan, the Republican Forces again executed scores of men from ethnic groups aligned to Gbagbo - at times in detention sites - and tortured others.

The Ouattara government, as well as foreign diplomats close to the government, have at times implied that while the Republican Forces committed "bad acts," these are less egregious than those committed by Gbagbo forces because Gbagbo's refusal to step down and manipulation of ethnicity precipitated the violence. Under the norms of human rights and international humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said, all crimes require prosecution, regardless of who is to blame for the conflict's origin. Civilians from pro-Gbagbo groups who saw Ouattara's forces kill and rape their relatives or burn their villages to the ground were no more legitimate targets than the northern Ivorians and West African immigrants killed by Gbagbo's forces.

"International donors and key government partners have rightfully stepped in to help the Ouattara government rebuild the country," Bekele said. "But if they want Côte d'Ivoire to become the peaceful and prosperous heart of West Africa, as it used to be, these partners need to ensure that justice is done - and is seen to be done - for both sides' crimes."

The June report of an international commission of inquiry, commissioned by UN Human Rights Council at the request of Ouattara's government, included an annex that identified individuals who should be investigated for their possible involvement in serious crimes. Human Rights Watch has been told, however, that while the annex was provided to the International Criminal Court prosecutor and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, it has not been made available to the Ivorian government.

Human Rights Watch called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the annex immediately to the relevant authorities in Côte d'Ivoire, including President Ouattara, the justice minister, and the Abidjan and Daloa prosecutors, to ensure that victims see justice done.

Civilian and military prosecutors in Côte d'Ivoire have both initiated proceedings against members of the Gbagbo camp, with at least 118 people charged so far. But six months after the Duékoué massacre, one of the single worst events of the crisis, no member of the Republican Forces has yet faced charge for crimes committed during the post-election violence. Many of those who lost loved ones during the massacre remain at a humanitarian camp on the outskirts of the town, afraid and unable to return home.

On September 27, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on behalf of the Elders, a group of internationally renowned political and moral leaders, "encourage[d] President Ouattara to demonstrate to his people and the world that the judicial process he has started is both fair and completely impartial.... [W]e are convinced that the perception that 'victor's justice' is being applied would greatly undermine the reconciliation process."

"President Ouattara needs to swiftly match his soaring rhetoric on ending impunity with credible prosecutions of those in his camp who committed serious crimes," Bekele said. "After a decade under Gbagbo in which security forces were above the law, it's only through impartial justice that the rule of law will return and all Ivorians will begin to heal from the suffering imposed by this conflict." "

READ REPORT:
2. ""They Killed Them Like It Was Nothing": The Need for Justice for Côte d'Ivoire's Post-Election Crimes," Human Rights Watch, 5 October 2011 , http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/cdi1011.pdf

3. "ICC: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome the pre-Trial Chamber III authorisation to launch an investigation in Côte d'Ivoire," No Peace Without Justice, 4 October 2011, http://www.npwj.org/ICC/ICC-NPWJ-and-NRPTT-welcome-pre-Trial-Chamber-III-authorisation-launch-investigation-Côte-d’Ivoir

"Yesterday, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) gave a positive answer to the Prosecutor's request to commence an investigation in Côte d'Ivoire with respect to crimes allegedly committed in this country falling under the jurisdiction of the Court. The Pre-Trial Chamber granted authorisation to investigate not only those crimes committed since 28 November 2010, as requested by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), but also asked the Prosecutor to produce any information on crimes committed between 2002 and 2010 and to investigate crimes that may be committed in the future in the context of this situation.

Côte d'Ivoire, while not being a party to the Rome Statute, had accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC on 18 April 2003 and reconfirmed such acceptance on 14 December 2010 and 3 May 2011.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice
"No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the decision of the ICC to open an investigation on crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire. We particularly commend this decision of the ICC Judges, as they also request the ICC Prosecutor to produce within one month any additional information on crimes allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire between 2002 and 2010.

"The situation in Côte d'Ivoire has been under preliminary examination by the OTP since 1 October 2003, when then President Gbagbo agreed the Court may exercise jurisdiction over events since 19 September 2002. Given the extreme violence that has been perpetrated in Côte d'Ivoire from 2002 to 2010, we were concerned that the Prosecutor had unduly restricted the focus of his investigations only to events that happened since November 2010.

"Today's decision is a fundamental step towards ensuring that impartial and effective justice is finally done for the Ivorian victims, which is a crucial precondition to achieve lasting peace. We urge the ICC Prosecutor to ensure that there is no impunity for crimes committed since 2002 in Côte d'Ivoire. This is the only chance for the country to break the cycle of violence by ensuring that those who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights abuses and crimes under international law against the civilian population are brought to justice, irrespective of their rank or political allegiance.

"NPWJ and the TNRP also urge the Court to start outreach in Côte d'Ivoire as soon as possible. With the judges' decision to authorise the opening of an investigation, there is now a compelling need for the Court to engage with victims and affected communities in twoway dialogue, to promote understanding of the Court and manage expectations, with a particular focus on women and children."

For further information, contact Alison Smith on [email protected] or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on [email protected] or +32-2-548-3913"

4. "Côte d'Ivoire: The ICC Prosecutor should investigate the most serious crimes committed since 2002," Amnesty International Media Statement, 3 October 2011, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/afr310102011en.pdf

"Amnesty International welcomes the decision announced today by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorizing the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation into crimes under international law committed in Côte d'Ivoire since the post-electoral crisis which began at the end of November 2010. In particular, it welcomes the decision to ask the Prosecutor to present information to the Chamber within one month on potentially relevant crimes committed between 2002 and November 2010; the period when some of the most serious crimes were committed.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called upon the Ivoirian authorities and the ICC Prosecutor to investigate all crimes under international law committed by all parties. The organization has documented crimes against humanity, as well as war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearances, torture and crimes of sexual violence committed in the country, in particular between 2002 and November 2010. The Pre-Trial Chamber decision gives hope to the thousands of victims of these crimes, notably the women and girls who have been subjected to rape and other crimes of sexual violence committed by all parties.

The organization also calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to submit the information requested by the Pre- Trial Chamber concerning all the crimes under international law committed since 2002 by both the supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo and by the Forces Nouvelles, the armed group that took control of the North of the country.

In order to rebuild the rule of law in Côte d'Ivoire, the ICC Prosecutor should not limit the investigation either by only focusing on the crimes under international law committed by the supporters of the former President or by ignoring all the serious crimes under international law committed since 2002, notably crimes of sexual violence.

The best way to ensure justice and full reparation for all victims of the nine-year crisis is to encompass this whole period of time and deal with all the serious crimes under international law regardless who committed them.

Background Information

Although Côte d'Ivoire is not yet a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, on 18 April 2003 the country's then Minister of Foreign Affairs lodged a declaration with the Registrar of the ICC accepting the exercise of jurisdiction by the ICC with regard to crimes under international law committed in the territory of Côte d'Ivoire since 19 September 2002. The declaration expressly stated that it is not time limited and covers all war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On 14 December 2010, Alassane Ouattara officially confirmed the jurisdiction of the ICC and requested that the Prosecutor open an investigation into crimes committed within the competence of the ICC since 2002. In a second letter, dated 3 May 2011, President Ouattara once again confirmed the recognition of the ICC's jurisdiction, but suggested narrowing the scope of the investigation to crimes committed since 28 November 2010."

SEE ALSO :

5. "Accountability for Post-Election Violence" HRW, 6 October 2011, http://hrwnews.org/distribute/cotedivoire_100611/preview.html [VIDEO]

6. "Côte d'Ivoire: ICC Judges OK Investigation: Important Step for Victims, But Cases for Crimes Prior to Election Also Key" Human Rights Watch press release, 3 October 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/10/03/c-te-d-ivoire-icc-judges-ok-investigation

7. "ICC OPENS INVESTIGATION IN COTE D'IVOIRE - Judges of International Criminal Court Authorize Prosecutor to Investigate 2010 Post-Election Violence; Côte d'Ivoire Becomes Court's Seventh Investigation," CICC Media Advisory, 3 October 2011, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/2ICC_CI_Investigation_Opening_CICC_Media_advisory_Oct2011-1.pdf

II. RELATED NEWS AND OPINIONS

A. COALITION MEMBERS QUOTED

1. " Côte d'Ivoire, is reconciliation possible?," (Côte d'Ivoire: la réconciliation est-elle possible?) Slate Afrique, 12 October 2011, http://www.slateafrique.com/52551/cote-ivoire-reconciliation-abidjan [In French]

2. "Côte d'Ivoire: towards a justice of the winners?" (Côte d'Ivoire: vers une justice des vainqueurs?)by Sabine Cessou, Slate Afrique, 7 October 2011, http://www.slateafrique.com/50145/cote-d’ivoire-justice-gbagbo-ouattara [In French]

3. "Rights Group calls on Ivory Coast to Fulfill Promise of Impartiality," by Anne Look, Voice of America, 6 October 2011, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/west/Ivory-Coast-Promise-of-Impartial-Justice-131226929.html

4. "Group: war crimes by both sides in Ivory Coast," AP, 6 October 2011, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hypvzAVTISnBW9fstAHApZsY5obQ?docId=d894ac134a874f079f659064f3165471

5. "Impartial justice needed in Ivory Coast," UPI, 6 October 2011, http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2011/10/06/Impartial-justice-needed-in-Ivory-Coast/UPI-84501317911398/

6. "Ivory Coast War Crimes Report Released," by Laura Burke, AP, 5 October 2011, http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2096267,00.html

7. "Rights group says both sides committed war crimes during Ivory Coast postelection violence," Washington Post, 5 October 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/rights-group-says-both-sides-committed-war-crimes-during-ivory-coast-postelection-violence/2011/10/05/gIQAdG3yNL_story.html

8. "Ivory Coast: Human Rights Watch Documents Massacres of Civilians," by Ishaan Tharoor, Time, 5 October 2011, http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/10/05/ivory-coast-human-rights-watch-documents-massacres-of-civilians/

9. "Ivory Coast violence continues after the fall of Laurent Gbagbo, says Amnesty," by Charlotte Chabas, The Guardian, 4 October 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/04/ivory-coast-africa-violence-continues

B. OTHER NEWS

1. "Crimes against humanity, the ICC Prosecutor in Abidjan on Friday - what Ocampo is coming to do," (CRIMES CONTRE L'HUMANITE, Le procureur de la Cpi à Abidjan vendredi- Ce que vient faire le juge Ocampo), Afrik 53, 13 October 2011, http://www.afrik53.com/CRIMES-CONTRE-L-HUMANITE-Le-procureur-de-la-Cpi-a-Abidjan-vendredi--Ce-que-vient-faire-le-juge-Ocampo_a6785.html [In French]

2. "Carrying out the worst atrocities. But being on the "right" side," (Commettre les pires atrocités. Mais être du «bon» côté..."), by Théophile Kouamouo, Nouvel Observateur Blog, 11 October 2011, http://unebourriche.blogs.nouvelobs.com/archive/2011/10/11/commettre-les-pires-atrocites-mais-etre-du-bon-cote.html [In French]

3. "Soro threatened by the ICC like Ouattara," (Soro menacé de la CPI comme Ouattara), by Edouard Amichia, Une Bourriche Blog, 9 October 2011, http://unebourriche.blogs.nouvelobs.com/archive/2011/10/09/ouattara-menace-de-la-cpi-soro-aussi.html [In French]

4. "ICC investigation in Côte d'Ivoire, huge pressure on Ouattara's power," (Enquete de la cpi en Côte d'Ivoire, Forte pression sur le pouvoir de Ouattara), Abidjan.net, 8 October 2011, http://news.abidjan.net/h/412953.html [In French]

5. "Alassane Ouattara : "The priority is economic recovery," Afrik, 7 October 2011, http://www.afrik-news.com/article19239.html

6. "I.Coast leader visits Ghana, where rival's allies have fled," by Christophe Koffi, AFP, 6 October 2011, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jDx2XWtxB5XmZN1HdxlXKGbqgDfQ?docId=CNG.d7d012f166b478cb279a01d316509da8.301

7. "ICC/COTE D'IVOIRE - Prosecutor to investigate "on both sides,"" Fondation Hirondelle - Hirondelle News Agency, 5 October 2011, http://www.hirondellenews.com/content/view/14858/26/

8. "International Criminal Court to Investigate War Crimes in Ivory Coast,"by John Campbell, Council of Foreign Relations, 4 October 2011, http://blogs.cfr.org/campbell/2011/10/04/international-criminal-court-to-investigate-war-crimes-in-ivory-coast/

9. "Neighborhood of 'Little Beirut' looted in Abidjan: ambassador," by Dana Khraiche, The Daily Star, 4 October 2011, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2011/Oct-04/150396-neighborhood-of-little-beirut-looted-in--abidjan-ambassador.ashx#axzz1Zq2gtVuO

10 "World court begins Ivory Coast inquiry," AP, The Boston Globe, 4 October 2011, http://articles.boston.com/2011-10-04/news/30243160_1_pro-ouattara-world-court-laurent-gbagbo

11. "ICC to investigate Ivory Coast election killings," New Vision, 3 October 2011
http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/18137-icc-to-investigate-ivory-coast-election-killings.html

12. "ICC/CÔTE D'IVOIRE - ICC Judges give Prosecutor green light to investigate in Cote d'Ivoire," Fondation Hirondelle - Hirondelle News Agency, 3 October 2011
http://www.hirondellenews.com/content/view/14842/564/

13. "ICC authorizes probe into post-election violence in Côte d'Ivoire," UN News, 3 October 2011, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39907&Cr=Ivoire&Cr1=

14. "International Criminal Court Allows Ivory Coast Probe," Voice of America, 3 October 2011, http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/10/03/international-criminal-court-allows-ivory-coast-probe/

15. "Moreno-Ocampo to probe Côte d'Ivoire violence," by Luc Gnago, RFI, 3 October 2011, http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20111003-moreno-ocampo-probe-cote-divoire-violence

16. "ICC grants prosecutor to start investigation in Cote d'Ivoire," Xinhua News, 3 October 2011, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-10/03/c_131173227.htm

17. "Hague court to investigate Ivory Coast election," by Aaron Gray-Block, Reuters, 3 October 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/03/us-icc-ivorycoast-idUSTRE7920XJ20111003

18. "War crimes prosecutor to probe ICoast atrocities: court," AFP, 3 October 2011, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gIlS-MX1JMr1lXOuJiyIGkKkcjOw?docId=CNG.fafef7ec4e78f073df85ca881b4ba38a.f1

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CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:

The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts. Communications to the ICC can be sent to: ICC P.O. box 19519 2500 CM the Hague The Netherlands