UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website, JURIST news archive] on Saturday told [press release] members of the African Union (AU) [official website] that a recount of November's Ivory Coast presidential runoff election results would be a "grave injustice and unfortunate precedent." Speaking before a high level meeting on the situation in the Ivory Coast, Ban reiterated the UN's pledge to help resolve the tense situation in the country which has led to heightened violence and fears that a genocide could occur [JURIST report], as a result outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] refusing to leave office. The UN, AU and other world powers have recognized the victory of president-elect Alassane Ouattara [NYT profile], but Gbagbo has called for a recount [AFP report]. Ban stressed the need for the international community to remain unified and "stand firm" against Gbagbo's efforts to "hang on to power through the use of force." Ban also said that those responsible for the deaths of more than 260 people since December "must be brought to justice and held responsible for their crimes."
The UN pledged support [JURIST report] for Ouattara in January, committing UN peacekeeping forces to his aid. The UN press release also noted reports of mass graves [Newstime Africa report], and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] warned Gbagbo that he would be held accountable for continued post-election violence carried out in his name. During the violence following the elections, hundreds were arrested and dozens allegedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment. UN officials have pleaded [JURIST report] for all parties to the disputed presidential election to honor the country's commitment to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity under the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document [text, PDF]. The Economic Community of West African States [official website] has also urged [JURIST report] Gbagbo to step down, threatening the use of force if he attempted to maintain power. Gbagbo was elected to a five-year presidential term in 2000, but has managed to stay in office by delaying six successive elections.