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Ivory Coast leader Ouattara promises legal action against Gbagbo

Ivory Coast opposition leader Alassane Ouattara announced in a televised speech Monday that he will ask his justice minister to begin legal proceedings against former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profiles]. Ouattara guaranteed the security of Gbagbo and his family but stated that Gbagbo, his wife Simone and their collaborators would be investigated by judicial authorities [BBC Report]. Ouattara also announced that he will set up a truth and reconciliation commission and asked Ivorians to abstain from all reprisals and violence. He also asked the European Union [official website] to lift sanctions on the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro and promised to restore security, utilities and meet the basic needs of the people [Guardian report]

Gbagbo was captured on Monday [JURIST report] after six months of turmoil. Gbagbo had refused to surrender the presidency after he was defeated in the presidential elections last November. Last week, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report urged Ouattara to conduct an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged atrocities carried out by his forces in its attempts to secure the presidency. According to the report, the pro-Ouattara forces, known as the Republican Forces of Cote d'Ivoire, killed more than 100 civilians, raped at least 20 supporters of Gbagbo and burned at least 10 villages in March. Earlier this month, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] reported the deaths of at least 800 civilians [JURIST report] in the Ivory Coast town of Duekoue as a result of intercommunal violence. Earlier, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged all parties in the Ivory Coast to show restraint and called for an independent investigation into post-election violence [JURIST reports]. In January, UN officials expressed "grave concerns" [JURIST report] regarding the post-election violence, cautioning that genocide could be imminent.

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