A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

UN warns of possible Ivory Coast genocide

UN rights officials on Wednesday expressed "grave concerns" over continued post-election violence in the Ivory Coast [CIA backgrounder; JURIST news archive], cautioning that genocide could be imminent [press briefing]. During a daily briefing, UN Special Advisor on Genocide Francis Deng [official profile, PDF] and Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect Edward Luck [academic profile] discussed their fears for the nation and drew comparisons between the current situation in the Ivory Coast and the international community's failure to prevent the 1994 Rwandan genocide [JURIST news archive], as well as successful preventive measures in Kenya. The pair echoed warnings they gave last month that the UN has received unconfirmed reports of serious human rights violations [press release, PDF], specifically alleging that supporters and special forces of President Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] are inciting violence among different ethnic groups for political purposes. Also Wednesday, the UN Security Council unanimously authorized 2,000 additional peacekeeping troops [UN News Centre report; press briefing] in the African nation after reports of continued violence between opposing political forces and against UN peacekeepers.

The UN pledged support [JURIST report] for president-elect Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] in January, committing UN peacekeeping forces to his aid. The UN 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. Ouattara defeated Gbagbo in a runoff election in November, but Gbagbo has refused to concede defeat or leave office. During the ensuing violence, 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.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.